Business: The Challenge of Growing One’s Brand


In the competitive world of local entrepreneurship, the aspiration to expand and enhance one’s brand is a common ambition. This narrative is vividly illustrated through the experiences of Susana Almaguer, the owner of The Coffee Mugg, a charming coffee shop known for its enchanting atmosphere. Despite her success, Almaguer confronts the harsh realities of business expansion, particularly the daunting costs associated with moving to a more promising location.

The Dream of Business Expansion

At the heart of Almaguer’s aspirations is the desire to relocate her coffee shop to the city’s Southside, a move driven by the pursuit of better amenities such as ample parking, a drive-thru, and an inviting patio. These enhancements are not just whimsical desires but strategic steps toward creating a more accessible and enjoyable experience for her customers. The current location, while appreciated for its unique charm, presents significant challenges, including limited parking and the presence of homeless individuals who frequent the area, affecting the customer experience.

The Sticker Shock of Relocation

The ambition to expand, however, faces a substantial obstacle: the cost of relocation. Almaguer’s encounter with the stark price tag of a smaller venue, demanding $2,300 a month, underscores the financial barriers to growth. This revelation is a testament to the broader issue of rising rental costs in desirable locations, a trend observed by industry experts.

Location and Cost: The Real Estate Perspective

James Magil from DH Realty Partners sheds light on the dynamics at play, emphasizing that location is a pivotal factor in the cost of property. The Southside, with its newer constructions, naturally commands higher rental prices due to the increased costs associated with new buildings. Furthermore, this area boasts a higher population density and average household income compared to downtown, factors that contribute to its attractiveness but also its higher expense.

David Loeb, owner of LandLord Resources, echoes this sentiment, highlighting the impact of inflation on rental costs. What once was affordable has now escalated well beyond previous norms, a change that poses challenges for small business owners like Almaguer.

A Hopeful Future

Despite these hurdles, Almaguer remains optimistic about the future. Her connection to the Southside, where she resides, fuels her determination to find a suitable location for her business. This personal stake adds a layer of motivation to her quest, reflecting a common theme among local entrepreneurs: the drive to bring their businesses closer to their communities.

Conclusion: The Balancing Act of Business Expansion

The story of The Coffee Mugg’s potential expansion is a microcosm of the challenges faced by local businesses aiming to grow. It highlights the delicate balance between aspiration and affordability, the strategic importance of location, and the resilience of business owners in the face of financial constraints. As the landscape of local entrepreneurship evolves, stories like Almaguer’s serve as poignant reminders of the complexities involved in expanding a personal brand. Despite the obstacles, the enduring spirit of local entrepreneurs continues to drive the growth and diversification of our communities.

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