It's 12:01 in the afternoon on October 24, 2019. My phone dings - it's an email.
I check it.
It is Aunt Margie (Truly Kay's (my incredible girlfriend) aunt, but I call her aunt as well).
She has forwarded me a message that she had received early that day. The email was from Alan George, the COO of St. Francis hospital in Columbus. He is notifying his staff that the coffee shop inside their hospital will be closing down in the coming week. He mentions that he hopes to have a plan in place by the first quarter of 2020.
Immediately, I think - could we possibly open another location this quickly? We just opened the kiosk at Coliseum two weeks ago.
Not worried about the answer to this pessimistic question, I send Alan George an email. I'm careful about my wording, as I don't want to be too intrusive, yet I want him to know that I am very interested in partnering with St. Francis.
I send my email, and I wait.
20 minutes later, my phone dings.
It's Alan George.
He wants to talk.
10 minutes later, I hang up my phone. Alan and I scheduled a meeting for the following Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital.
I finally stop pacing. I breathe.
The thought once again crosses my mind - Could we possibly open another location this quickly?
I push on.
Tuesday comes. I have a 7 minute pitch prepared, explaining why Z Beans would be a good fit for St. Francis. Half way in, I realize that the pitch is worthless..
They are already sold.
It wasn't because of my pitch, it was because of all that we have done so far - it was because of all the friends and supporters we have made along the way - it was because Z Beans could stand alone.
We walk through the hospital staring at our would be space - it's great. With some TLC, it will be even better.
Now - the tough question. I've already figured a number in my head, which I based off Coliseum. What will be the cost of rent?
I ask. I'm prepared to negotiate.
Without hesitation, Alan says the number.
It's more than fair.
When do you want us to open?
Alan says, "As soon as possible."
Alan says, "That'll work."
With this being the first shop outside of Macon, we are excited for the challenge. While the inevitable question of whether or not we can open another shop this quickly may loom, I am committed to finding a way no matter the obstacle.
On a different note, we are grateful for the trust of everyone at St. Francis. Their willingness to partner so quickly with Z Beans - a business with roots over an hour and a half away - is humbling. While we still have miles and miles to go, I am grateful for just how far we have come.
The Fourth coffee shop - inside St. Francis hospital - coming early December 2019!