Mead’s Corner is Wichita’s newest coffee shop. If you’re in Wichita, there’s a good chance you’ve read about the shop either in the Wichita Eagle or on Twitter – there’s been considerable buzz surrounding its opening.
Hayley and I went to Mead’s Corner on Friday night and I just wanted to post some thoughts about the place.
Let me start with positive reactions:
They’ve done a fairly nice job with the decoration. The floors are nice and appear to be quite expensive. The bar looks nice. The lighting is nice. The order board is nice. The tables and chairs look nice.
The staff seems very friendly. The manager was there, taking orders and seemed to be in a good mood despite being there since 6:30 that morning. He’s been an incredible advocate for the store on Twitter, so it’s nice to see that online passion matched by reality. Also, there was an older man working behind the counter who never stopped wearing a big smile and seemed incredibly likable. I don’t know if he’s an employee or a volunteer, but either way, they need to pay him whatever it takes to keep him there. He’s great.
I think it’s cool that their profits are going to help both local and global causes. That’s pretty cool, and I hope that they somehow tell the story of the good the coffeeshop is doing in some visual or verbal way.
We didn’t try any food, but my cappuccino tasted good – it just wasn’t exactly as I ordered it. I guess I can’t complain too much about that as I very rarely get a dry cappuccino.
Which leads me to the negative:
The layout does not appear to be very well thought out. It’s not clear where people should line up to order and if there’s too much of a crowd, there are going to be some fairly serious logistical issues.
The service wasn’t very quick. Now, I fully recognize that it was their first official day being open, so I have to temper my feelings about this. Serving espresso is never a quick affair, but with only one espresso machine and one barista, it appears this could be a ongoing problem. Combine this with the poor layout and there could be some nasty traffic jams with people waiting for beverages.
The furniture isn’t very comfortable. (I suppose this could be intentional so that people don’t just sit and take advantage of the free wi-fi all day.) Hayley complained about this more than I did, but it’s a pretty big deal to her. The high-top chairs are too tall for the tables and make it impossible to cross one’s legs under the table. Also, I rammed my knees into the legs of the table, though that may have been just as much my fault as the furniture’s.
And, finally, I wish there wasn’t so much press about this being a church outreach. I know that this has little to do with my actual experience, but I fear that it is going to affect people’s perception about the shop. In today’s news story, Dr. Gardner, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church, says that church members will not “do any overt evangelism” and that they won’t “push that information on anyone,” instead hoping that visitors will be compelled to know more about the faith based on their experience at the store.
It seems to go against the mission of what is being attempted by talking about it so much. By constantly saying “but we won’t preach to you!” you’re reinforcing people’s perceptions that the church typically exists just to convert – not to simply serve (delicious coffee beverages).
We’ll see how it plays out in the coming weeks, but I hope the “church outreach” angle fades and the “great coffee experience” comes to the forefront. That story will get more people through the doors. That story will be one I can support.