Archives Coffee House Optimistic For Future Despite Business Seasonality, Inflation Impact – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — For Kyle Thorson, owner of Archives Coffee House, being located next to a college campus can have its highs and lows. His business, now in its seventh year of operation, experiences seasonal changes in demand.

“UND students are a major driver of business,” Thorson said. “Revenues tend to be higher when students are on campus. We definitely had problems last summer: sales were down 50-75% in any given month. Add to that the fact that we were paying off the COVID loans, and it was tough for a few months.”

In response to declining sales, Thorson said Archives launched a promotion in August encouraging customers to purchase gift cards. Thorson said the promotion was well received.

“We were reviewing our financial statements and realized we needed to do something to increase our revenue,” he said. “We ended up making about $10,000 from gift card sales, which was crucial in getting us through the last few weeks of summer. and in the fall semester when the students returned.”

Thorson said Archives still offers promotions, like giving its loyalty program members 20% off coupons and running a sale through the end of the week with all baked goods priced at $1.

The Archives also recently got a permit to serve beer and wine, which Thorson says provides opportunities for a wider range of events in the evening.

“We’ve had more live music and open mic nights,” Thorson said. “We also partnered with Fargo’s Milk Made Catering for a wine and cheese night, which was a lot of fun. Our main business driver continues to be coffee, but the ability to serve beer and wine allows us to supplement our revenue.”

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In addition to serving beer and wine on-site, Thorson said Archives has obtained permits from the city to serve these beverages at private events, such as plays at Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Archives clerk Kellie Rygg makes cinnamon buns.

Joe Banish/Grand Forks Herald

Thorson says the Archives will partner with local charities and nonprofits in the coming months in the spirit of charity.

“We operate as a social business, which means each month we partner with a different nonprofit in the community to help give back,” Thorson said. “February is Giving Hearts Month, so all of our baristas will be able to choose a different charity to donate to. I think amazing things are happening and we are finally in a position where we can build our business again after a few difficult months.”

Looking ahead to next year, Thorson says one of her biggest concerns is the impact of inflation, specifically the rising cost of basic bakery items like milk and eggs. Rising costs for these products have forced Thorson to raise prices by about 25 cents per drink, something he says he wants to avoid in the future.

“When I first opened in 2016, milk was around $3 a gallon, and now it’s common to pay more than $4 a gallon. I just looked the other day and I’m paying $5.69 a gallon for whole milk,” she said. “I’m aware that college students are very price sensitive, so I don’t want to raise prices any higher if I can. avoid it, but it’s hard when you’re facing such a huge increase in costs.”

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Thorson said the rising operating costs are particularly hard to bear as a sole proprietor.

“It’s a little scary as a small business owner,” Thorson said. “I don’t really have an endorsement, unlike a chain like Starbucks that has a lot of locations and can match these changes in their stores.”

Despite the aforementioned setbacks, Thorson is optimistic that there is strong support for his business within the community.

“Assuming we can get our inflation concerns under control, I’m very excited for next year,” Thorson said. “We have built great partnerships with artists and musicians in the community for future performances. I also think that students appreciate having a place to meet and study so close to campus, so I want to continue to create a space where they can do that.”

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