Monday, May 14, 2007

Where everybody knows your name...

I have lots of thoughts on all sorts of things -- coffee shops, for one. I usually don't share many of such thoughts on this blog, opting instead to offer only those relevant to this little HoCo niche we've created.

Blog-worthy source material, however, has been lacking recently. And rather than just expound on something totally random, I'll just link to an already-written story that includes my thoughts on one sort of thing -- namely, coffee shops.

I really like the story for two reasons: it includes a funny anecdote about my Columbia Council race; and the accompanying picture shows off my extremely large hands.

And, yes, the paper I'm reading in the photo is work related. The smoothie, however, is not.


FreeMarket said...

I don’t go to that coffee shop too often, but wife spends so much time and money there that the owners and employees really do know my name. Are you the dude in the red shirt?

Anonymous said...

is it just me or do you need to spend $80 to read the whole article? Are you allowed to post the whole article here?

Hayduke said...

D'oh. Sometime between last night and this morning, the story went behind their subscriber wall.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the whole thing here, but how about just the second half?

...Even with the conveniences of office connectivity, Ian Kennedy often turns off his Internet connection when doing work from his computer at Lakeside Coffee & Cafe in Columbia.

“That’s sort of the office environment that you have nowadays. There is always an e-mail coming in or the phone ringing,” Kennedy said. “You go someplace where there might be a crowd of people or conversation, but you can tune it out.”

The store is downstairs from his day job as an information specialist at nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners Inc. He visits the coffee store about twice a week even though he doesn’t drink coffee. He orders smoothies instead. He prefers to hold small office meetings there, calling it a more relaxed atmosphere for communicating with co-workers.

Historically, businessmen have flocked to coffee houses. In 17th-century London, Jonathan's Coffee-House posted stock and commodity prices. The posting marked the beginning of the London Stock Exchange.

In the United States, coffee shops have been known for attracting the artistic. Beat writers frequented them in the 1950s and 1960s.

At a Starbucks in Owings Mills, regulars have included a seminary student working on a novel and a man who would take over a table at night for hours to work on his comic strip about Basset Hounds, according to a former barista. Another writer came in every day for two weeks to sell his nonfiction book based on the story of some men paid to bring anthrax into the country.

“It is one of the coolest places to work when you’re new in the community because you meet so many people from so many different walks of life and you get to feel like you’re part of the neighborhood,” said Jodie Kabacoff, a former Starbucks barista.

“You go to the grocery store and suddenly you know everyone,” Kabacoff, 27, continued. “You don’t know their names. But you know their drinks. You say, ‘What’s up venti caramel macchiato?’”

Kennedy called Lakeside Coffee & Cafe a place to see the movers and shakers of Howard County. He has spotted community activists there, County Council members, a state delegate and an executive from General Growth Properties Inc., which bought The Rouse Co., the developer of Columbia.

“Every day I look through the glass windows … and take a catalog of who’s who and who is at the coffee shop today,” Kennedy said. “You can go into Lakeside on any given day and you will see some prominent member of the community.”

Del. Elizabeth Bobo, D-Howard, is known for holding meetings at Lakeside and other shops in her district. The atmosphere is friendlier, according to her legislative aide.

“People know she’s there. So it gives people a chance in the community to stop by and say, ‘Hi,’” said legislative aide Ann Goldscher. “She wants people to be able to approach her.”

Sometimes groups with opposing political views informally divide the store with the groups conversing on different ends of the stores. Kennedy, a community activist himself who writes a personal blog on Howard County politics called HoCo Hayduke, recalled running into his opponent at the shop immediately after filing to run for Columbia Council himself.

“That was a little uncomfortable,” he said. “But stuff like that happens all the time down there.”

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure it's company policy to leave your internet connected when "working remotely." That way you can be tracked down no matter where you are.

I'm telling HR.

hayduke said...

It's OK. I made up a little, unadorned sign that I put up to let people know where I went.

Anonymous said...


Lakeside is the best. M and M provide the best customer service in the county, maybe even the state.