S6:E11 - ANDREW SCOTT, INFLECTION POINT COFFEE
A Garagepreneur taking advantage of the SoCal Sun with a solar-powered coffee roaster.
Oh, this has been the best. Yes, it's been difficult. It's been stressful, but it's a different stress when it's for your own company…It's that stress of ownership. It's okay. I know that I'm dealing with this. It's mine, and I'm going to grow it or not, or whatever it is. It's my stress, and I get to own that. It's my actions alone that are going to, like, shift that, alleviate it. I only need to be as stressed as I want to be.
Andrew Scott, Inflection Point Coffee
There is a romance to the grand idea of starting a business in the garage. It’s worked before. Apple was started in a two-car garage in Los Altos, CA. Google, a two-car in Menlo Park, and Hewlett-Packard, a single in Palo Alto, CA. Disney started in a small shed masquerading as a garage in Anaheim, CA.
It’s not just that there is a bit of magic out there in the space away from the reality of meals and television and family and any number of distractions. The garage is where work gets done. It’s no different than the mental transition that comes with putting on a uniform or heading into the office to sit behind a desk. The garage is where work gets done.
It isn’t a coincidence that garages in Southern California have become famous for the number of world-changing businesses that have come out of them. First, the cost per square foot to rent or purchase space is prohibitive for many start-ups and has been for decades. Second, the weather is conducive to year-round work (or play) outside.
Andrew Scott got his start roasting coffee in Chicago.* His Wife gave him a basic Behmor coffee roaster as a gift for Valentine’s Day. It’s his origin story. His new hobby became a passion and part of his work until, one day, it became his work. However, it might not have had they stayed in Chicago.
The winters in the Midwest can be notoriously cold and the wind whistling through the garage brutal. In Andrew’s case, his path led him to electric roasting, which enables him to use solar power, which is beneficial both for the cost of use and for creating a more sustainable business. California’s plentiful sunshine and relatively warm weather** make both possible.
The point is that sometimes our path is often diverted by our environment—not to mention circumstance, chance, and, if you believe in it, fate. I found myself quite inspired by this week’s podcast interview with Andrew Scott and grateful for his willingness to share more than his story.
*I drank my first cup of coffee at Star Lounge Coffee Bar—an off-shoot of Dark Matter Coffee Roaster—in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago. It was an awesome experience, and more than a decade later, I’m still grateful for the care the baristas took in guiding me.
**Relative is the key term. I’m wearing a stocking cap as I write this column because it is a cool 70 degrees. The lack of humidity makes 70 feel cold. My apologies to my Wisconsin brethren.
FROM THE SHOW
The Friends show has been off the air for almost two decades, and yet it is still so popular that you can tour the set of the Central Perk Coffee Shop on Stage 48 at Warner Bros. Studios. In the late 1990s, cafe’s around the country were adding soft lighting, pastries, and plenty of cushioned lounge areas in hopes of drawing loyal customers to the cafe experience.
I don’t have my father’s luck either.
When you start to go down the path towards opening a food/beverage production business like a coffee roaster or a food/beverage service business like a coffee shop or cart, you will quickly be overwhelmed–at least momentarily—by required permits and health code restrictions. Even just finding the right information for your business can be hard.
Toast (a restaurant point-of-sale) software company put together this list of general permits you will likely need wherever you are to get started. It’s an easy to consume starting point, but if you’re serious, you’ll very quickly end up on your local government website. They may even have a handy brochure like this one at your local town hall or library:
It will be a lot of information to consume from not terribly well-organized government websites. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification. Often there can be very helpful local officials whose job it is to help new businesses navigate all the rules.
In San Diego County—and many others—the Health Department will require a Food Plan Check. This is a big one and will be the one that determines whether or not you finally get to operate your business.
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