At The Vault Coffee Shop in Valley City, North Dakota, not only do you serve yourself a cup of java, you ring up your own bill too.

16274_558026117611523_623340247_n

The local joint, established last October by David and Kimberly Brekke, relies on the honors system rather than employees to keep the daily grind brewing. Serving fresh coffee and pastries, patrons select what they wish, add up the bill and pay via cash or credit card.

Believe it or not, the unique venture is proving successful! In a town of just 6,000 people, profits are actually up by 15 percent.

“I realized it was unusual, I didn’t realize it was possibly unique,” David tells Ellen’s Good News. “In order for it to make sense in a particular community, there has to be the right mix of elements. But I assumed people in small towns around the country would have things similar to this.”



Turns out, The Vault is one-of-a-kind. David says he decided to set up the place sans employees to benefit the economics of the community, a place with almost no unemployment, where businesses compete for workers. Accordingly, he didn’t want to take from the well when it wasn’t necessary.

“There was no problem with me getting employees because kids like working at a coffee shop,” David explains. “I could have easily staffed it, but that’s taking employees from other businesses. I wanted this place to fold into the community, and be a benefit and help to the community.”

Furthermore, the set-up lowers his financial risk.

“This way, it’s almost failure proof,” he adds. “If you have employees, you have a greater amount of expense, so you need a greater amount of income…The loss is so minimal that if it turns out we have a bad month, we’re not going to go out of business.”

As the Brekke’s primary goal has always been to add value to the community and support local arts and culture, this policy serves multiple purposes. The Vault was built in a renovated old bank, and features an array of artwork by local artists, used books for sale, and two pianos, all of which are at a customer’s disposal.

1382414_547385198675615_2122672874_n

article-2669232-1F1D868D00000578-856_634x426

Beyond food and drink, there are gallery exhibitions, theater performances, and independent film screenings. Customers are encouraged to chat, and many gather for bible study, book club, or board games.

“When I put this place together, I tried to figure out what would help this community the most,” says David, a business strategist who relocated from Minneapolis. “We hoped it would be a source of some income, but really it’s a community center. It’s a place where people can hang out, they play games, we sell art from local artists – it’s about arts and culture and making Valley City a better place to be. A lot of people have said it’s the coolest new addition to Valley City in a long time…It’s something joyful.”

Add Your Comment

  • Please check your inbox ... your comment will not appear until you have confirmed your identity via email.

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put 1 URL in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.

Comments

fgvefge
29 days ago


Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

----------------------> http://w­w­w­.J­o­b­s­7­0­0.­c­o­m

Likes 0 Dislikes 0
Maria Guirola
29 days ago

ShutterGiftCards.com - Buy or Sell Discounted Shutterfly Gift Cards & Certificates at Great Prices!

Likes 0 Dislikes 0