Caribou Coffee — Friendly Center, Greensboro, NC
This is my FAVORITE coffee shop, and my office-of-all-offices. When I want to get out of the house and put my feet up and actually get some real work done, this is where I head. (It's also a darn good place to relax, too!)
The very first time I came here, the barista memorized my name off my credit card. About an hour into my work, she called my name across the store. "Kathi" … Puzzled, I looked around, certain that no one knew me here. Finally I figured out that the voice was coming from behind the counter. "Would you like a free refill?" That's kept me coming back ever since. (And they always remember my name somehow!)
Jen, the manager, runs a very tight shop here. This is perhaps the cleanest coffee-shop I've ever been in. She's a very hands-on manager. While she's often delegated things for the employees to do, it's evident that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Earlier this afternoon, she was on her hands and knees with a scrubber going at the bottoms of the tables. Plus she makes time to just chat with people as they go in and out. And she remembers their names, too! I've got great respect for a manger like that!
One of the things I greatly appreciate about this store is the atmosphere. Even when they're busy, it's quiet. Unlike Starbucks, with its blaring music, the background music here is … well… in the background. The tables and armchairs are logically arranged so that the patrons aren't in each other's faces, and therefore chatter is just "background noise" too. It makes for a very enjoyable working environment.
Another thing I REALLY appreciate is that everything is logically arranged and I can get around the entire store in my wheelchar without a single incident. Ditto for my cane. The bathroom is HUGE, the door is light, the paper towels are right at the sink, the grab-bars are logical… someone was really thinking when they designed this place. Thank you!
Oh, and the coffee! (here I go chattering and chattering about the atmosphere and I haven't even gotten to the main point!!) Caribou's coffee is without a doubt the best coffee-shop coffee I've had. Beats Starbucks hands-down in my opinion. I'm not sure what they do differently (Jen says it's something about the roast – it flew right over my head) but the proof's in the drinking, folks. They also offer a variety of "Coolers" which are similar to a Frappucino, Smoothies of all sorts, and a mango sweet iced tea that is to DIE for. (I've actually made a trip all the way across town to get a mango tea before… no kidding!)
My daughter can attest to the fact that their chocolate caramel truffle muffin will add inches to your hips and sweetness to your life, too.
They also have an assortment of gifts, ranging from grinders and thermoses to mugs teddy bears. One intriguing item that I've added to my wish list is a "Guaranteed spill-proof" Nissan thermos mug that comes on a caribener. I'm thinking that I could clip it to the wheelchair and take Caribou with me wherever I go.
Ahhhh, bliss. 🙂