I've been there twice. I'd really like to give them some patronage, but the place seems to barely be in business. Does anyone know the story there? Do they really think they can survive with that store?!
Uptown Coffee Roasters -- What's Up?(32 posts)
What are you talking about? Every time I have been there (~3) it as been busy and 2 people working the counter. The espresso is better than Starbucks or Tulleys so they will do just fine.
One of the people behind the counter worked at the old Tully's, and I like her. I'd like to see the place thrive. But geez, they yanked out all the furniture and replaced it with nothing but some wooden tables and chairs that look they were purchased at a yard sale. The poor variety of pastries are individually plastic wrapped, which probably means they aren't fresh.
Generally speaking, the place has the ambiance of a shoebox. The location was closed for quite a while, which I presumed was for remodeling. When they re-opened, I went in there really curious about what Uptown would be. It was so spartan that I figured they must be just getting up and running and would be moving furniture in.
That was nearly a month ago. I returned s couple days ago and nothing had changed. There was hardly anyone there, and meanwhile, Starbucks is jammed with people. I was a big fan of that Tully's and miss it, and was really hoping Uptown would be a good shop. But holy cow, it's just bizarre. I hope they get their act together, because I can't see how they can possibly stay in business the way they are.
I am familiar with Uptown, and can assure you their pastries are freshly baked each day at their lower Queen Anne location. While you may not appreciate the "feel" of the rustic and antique furniture, that is part of their overall collective look for all of their stores, and they seem to be doing very well with that concept. I wouldn't worry too much, Dow and Peter (the owners) seem to have a very good tab on each of their stores and will ensure that it fits with the neighborhood and is successful. If you feel a need to vent, go to their website and shoot them an email, I am sure they will get back to. That is certainly more likely to get you a response that complaining to fellow customers like ourselves...lol
Thanks for the reply. It tells me that it isn't an interim design, but what they intend for the place to be. In that case, all I can say is, "good luck, guys."
I would describe the look as simple, clean, casual and relaxed. Pretty much what I am looking for in a coffee place and I think it works well in Seattle. I dont know much about UE other than this- 1. they have an established track record of operation in Seattle, and 2. they are currently the only coffee purveyor within the confines of Magnolia that obviously trains their staff on how to steam milk properly. (Thank you for this.) As a result I think their espresso based drinks are in the top tier. So, as long as they continue to hire and train competent friendly people I am certain they will prosper in the village. So many people are looking for alternatives to large corporate chain stores. Thankfully, we now how that choice in the village.
On a more general note, let us consider spending more of our holiday dollars in the village this year. Supporting local businesses encourages competition, creates jobs and helps keep profits in our neighborhood.
I was in the Village just after 1 p.m. today (Wednesday, day before Tgiving). In the past, I'd split my business 50-50 between Tully's and Starbucks. Today I walked past Uptown. There were three people in the store, including the counter help. I got my coffee drink at Starbucks. I counted 37 people in the store, not including the counter help.
I want there to be two coffee places in Magnolia, but I'm not going to shop at Uptown. Maybe the shabby chic thing, minus the chic, works somewhere else. But if they want to make any money in Magnolia, they'd better take another look. Either that, or Starbucks needs a bigger store.
Your preference, opinion, observations and predictions have been duly noted.
Apparently "good luck guys" is not all you can say...I think at this point, you should simply keep it to yourself...your point has been made.
Uptown Expresso is a perplexing situation. I have talked to numerous people who were Tully's regulars and planned to go back, myself included. We are pretty much flabbergasted at the business strategy of Uptown. The whole point of a business is to please customers so they want to come back and spend money. Isn't it?
People wanted smaller tables and easy chairs. Uptown gave them a vintage boarding school study hall with long wooden tables. People wanted a fireplace. Uptown took it out. People want more and reasonably priced food choices, and have informed the owners of what they would like. At least one Uptown staff member has simply pointed out Starbucks across the street in response to such requests.
I know Durango and billybibbet would like me to be constructive, so I will give some advice to help Uptown:
Purchase small tables and easy chairs. Starbucks is remodeling...why not buy some of their stuff used? You have an elderly customer base, so make sure older people can sit comfortably in the furniture.
Get a vendor who can provide quiches, rolls, bagels and a few other savory items. Butter, cream cheese and jam would be nice touches. Get a toaster. You also need to brew decaf coffee. Magnolia, older people, remember?
Have the two former Tully's employees train your new staff in customer service. They are both unfailingly nice and polite. Surly and cynical works in lower Queen Anne, not Magnolia.
My hope is that Uptown will make a serious attempt to know and please the customers who might be available to them so that we do not end up with an empty storefront in a place that was previously a community hub.
The accumulating can be acquired now from Net-a-Porter. com in accession to at Jimmy Choo as able-bodied as UGG Sydney food as able-bodied as websites. uk ugg boots Jimmy Choo Starlit & Ugg Footwear Jimmy Choo Sora Prices alter from
[url=http://www.ugbootfreeshipping.co.uk/]cheap ugg boots free shipping[/url]
[url=http://www.ugbootfreeshipping.co.uk/uggs-for-women-free-shipping-c-2.html]womens ugg boots free shipping[/url]
[url=http://www.ugbootfreeshipping.co.uk/jimmy-choo-boots-free-shipping-c-2_25.html]ugg jimmy choo free shipping[/url]
I too was so hopeful for the new place and very disappointed with the result.
H.A. sums it up perfectly.
Another vote for H.A.
Glad some others chimed in. I was feeling lonely. :-)
I'd like to point out that Tully's is failing because of mistakes the corporation made at a higher level. Most of their stores are fine. I find it hard to believe that the Magnolia store was in trouble.
Generally speaking, the place has the ambiance of a shoebox. The location was closed for quite a while, which I presumed was for remodeling.
Thanks HA for summing up the situation. While the Uptown Espresso brand has been successful it appears doomed to fail in Magnolia as the management has failed to respond to its customers and a level of business that has to be far under their projections. But I guess it is an American right to fail and they seem hell bent on doing that. The Velvet Foam is excellent (though not price competitive with Starbucks) but I find their brewed coffee more like Folgers than coffee shop standards. With the exception of a couple of former Tully's employees the attitude of the employees is dismal and demeaning. While the furniture fits the branding of the store there should be some small tables for those of us who want privacy to read a paper or have an intimate conversation with a friend. I really want to support "the little guy" but given high price points, unfriendly service, no bagels, and horrible decor I'll take the corporate Starbucks. What might change my mind?
1. Better brewed coffee.
2. Latte pricing that can be higher than Starbucks, but not as high a differential than ever.
3. A few smaller tables as well as a large round table for the many coffee groups that used this site for years as their home.
4. A fireplace or an aquarium or something to warm up the place and make it feel hospitable.
5. Major training for employees--I'd rather have a phony "Thank you for shopping at K-Mart" than the surley condescending attitude projected by employees. (former Tully employees are an exception)
6. Management that puts up a suggestion box and then listens to it-- people who have written corporate site have been basically told "Tough Shit-- go across the street". And they are as Starbucks has never been more busy. I wonder if Uptown got a thank you card from Howard Schultz for the boost in business?
7. Something to develop a sense of community and belonging. Tully's always had a food bank drive and toy collection at Christmas.
Like I said I want to see Uptown succeed, but until the experience improves I'll be across the street.
You guys don't know what your missing at Upper Crust. The only thing I like at Uptown is the free wifi to go with my hot tea and the longer hours. I thought it was funny when Uptown was playing My Chemical Romance with the elderly groups hanging out.
I think this has been a useful thread, and am interested in what others are saying here. I disagree with billybibbet's advice to go directly to the owners. I'm sure (and I hope) it's painful for the owners to read these comments, but a smart businessman would treat the criticism as a gift.
Now the owners of Uptown know what they need to do. If they go out of business, they will know why. They know that people want them to succeed, and that they have potential customers. What happens next is really up to them. Frankly, the owners of Uptown should come here and tell us what, if anything, they plan to do.
Remember: Uptown has hardly any customers, and the Starbucks across the street is mobbed with people.
Billybibbet, as you read the thread many have used the company contact information to offer constructive criticism and suggestions. I think it is surprising that folks have worked so hard to help Uptown succeed and have been so thoroughly ignored. Many have been told to go across the street and that is exactly what they are doing. Evidently Uptown has decided they will not alter their pricing structure, their branding of furniture and decor so as not to weaken what they believe has been a key to their success in other stores. There is no indication that the owners or employees are reading this thread. If they have read it and are not offering a simple thank you for the comments their arrogance is simply amazing.
For Christmas I am wishing Uptown doses of empathy for their feedback, much needed flexibility to respond to customer input, and some internal naval gazing for them to ponder the situation. In the meantime, I will be buying my Christmas gift cards across the street. Hopefully, next year I will be able to go back to the small guy on the street.
doberg, they'll either listen and change, or they'll be out of business quickly. This is a very tough economy for businesses that do everything right, much less those that operate the way Uptown is operating in Magnolia. It baffles me, but life is just full of mysteries, eh?
I was excited to hear Uptown was opening a location in Magnolia, since I live nearby. I have been going to Uptowns all over Seattle for the past 5 years, and know all the main baristas pretty well. Recently I've heard that Uptown has been going through some major changes (staffing, policy, prices) and that their store 7th St. downtown is going to close in the spring.
That being said, I believe that this is a transitional phase for the Uptowns, and we need to give them time! Perhaps they'll move some of their smaller tables from the closing store to Magnolia? And maybe they'll tailor their goods to the neighborhood now that they have an idea of the type of clientele they receive? Keep in mind, they've only been open since October, and in this economy, it's already hard enough to get a business up and running.
But most of all as Magnolians, we need to embrace the changes that happen to our village! The fact that a large business like Tully's was replaced by a small, local partnership displays the very essence of our community and quite frankly, is something to be admired in today's business world. I dare you to tell me of a place with better foam and espresso than UE.
roget45 thanks for some much needed balanced and thoughtful input.
roget45, good post. I suppose I've come across as an ax grinder, but I'm not. I want Uptown to make it. I want the village to have two coffee shops. If Uptown shapes up, I'll be back. I'm not any kind of grudge holder at all. Not mad at them. Surprised and disappointed, but not mad.
There's a classic business article from the Harvard Business Review, circa 1980, that analyzed how the Japanese were making cars. One of the keys to their success was that they actually tuned their factories to expose problems. The whole assembly line would shut down if even a little thing went wrong.
They had a saying: "A defect is a treasure." They looked for the flaws in their approach, and then fixed the flaws. They didn't run away from them.
Uptown, the ball's in your court. We want you to make it, but only you can do it.
roget45-I will say again Upper Crust Bakery has the best coffee in Magnolia. I like Uptown, but their coffee is the worst.
I ZDV LQ WKH VLOODJH MXVW DIWHU 1 S.P. WRGD\ (WHGQHVGD\, GD\ EHIRUH TJLYLQJ). IQ WKH SDVW, I'G
VSOLW P\ EXVLQHVV 50-50 EHWZHHQ TXOO\'V DQG SWDUEXFNV. TRGD\ I ZDONHG SDVW USWRZQ. TKHUH
ZHUH WKUHH SHRSOH LQ WKH VWRUH, LQFOXGLQJ WKH FRXQWHU KHOS. I JRW P\ FRIIHH GULQN DW SWDUEXFNV. I
FRXQWHG 37 SHRSOH LQ WKH VWRUH, QRW LQFOXGLQJ WKH FRXQWHU KHOS..
I agree with the problem being ambiance. Green carpet? Really? I know it is their "corporate image" to have green carpet at all of their locations. But it is not good. And who thinks carpet is a good idea for a high-turnover place given the weather we have in Seattle?
But it isn't just the carpet, it is the things that everyone mentioned above. You need to enjoy going into a place. Uptown doesn't invite you to stay and enjoy your coffee.
Frankly, Starbucks is more inviting.
I'm really surprised that they haven't made any changes. Last Friday at 5 p.m., I walked past Uptown at 5 p.m. and counted seven people inside. Then I walked across the street to Starbucks, where I was the 18th customer.
Lots of customers have offered constructive and thoughtful suggestions here and at other locations like YELP as well as speaking directly to employees. There has been absolutely no recognition. If owners cared they would have posted here at least thanking customers for the input. Clearly this business will fail sooner or later and they will blame the business climate, the economy, or Obama rather than their unwillingness to respond to their customers.
Perhaps it's a hobby business for the owners?
I've only been in once, and was fortunate to have a nice experience- barista was pleasant coffee was tasty. But I don't go out much for coffee unless meeting with friends, and those hard chairs aren't comfy to sit on for hours.
You must log in to post.