Our Backbone: Independent Coffee Shops

By: Robert Csete

There is something quaint and eloquent about small independent coffee shops compared to the factory-like nature of a Starbucks , Dunkin, or other major chain shop. Independent coffee shops are the vital link between many small businesses in America. Most non-chain coffee shops get their products like their pastries from other local businesses and are a place where local businesses can showcase their talents. Independent coffee shops each display their own unique qualities because they have to separate themselves from chains in order to survive. Some have quirky menu items, colorful décor, or live music. The coffee is usually better – they need their products to be excellent to stay afloat in an industry dominated by huge corporations, and so they have to source their coffee locally or artisanally to stand out from the masses. Their products always show they care  – unlike Starbucks, where your sandwich is taken out of a plastic bag, heated, and rudely slapped down on the pick up counter. At small cafes, you know your food is made with care and comes out fresh.


Robert and Dan, being both avid CrossFit athletes, love to drink coffee to fuel their workouts and try new cafes. Unfortunately, they could not eat most of the products at cafes because their paleo diet does not allow them to consume the refined grains or processed foods that are in most store pastries. In their hometown of Miami, they started approaching some local cafes to see if they wanted to use their products. Cafes jumped at the opportunity to serve a plant-based cookie, and reach their new health-conscious customer The cookies began selling out in popular cafes in Miami like Cachito coffee, Umbria, and Breeze Block coffee. The founders also soon found out that many customers wanted the cookies in the other locations, such as juice bars, co-working spaces, and offices.


They were confident in their product’s success and decided to drive up the east coast of the US, visiting as many coffee shops as possible, connecting with small business owners, and pitching their product.  It wasn’t easy though; they did face a few setbacks as not all cafes responded to them, but they persevered and worked endlessly to get their cookies in as many cafes as possible. Dan and Robert’s vibrant energy and delicious cookies became a hit at a variety of cafes and states they passed through! Now Dan the Baking Man Cookies are available across the US!