Britain in Hamburg

Geee, where to start.  After all the illness I am HAPPY to be feeling like my old self again.  Unfortunately, things are not going well at the store.  I can see the cultural differences a lot clearer.  I have been open since March 13th, 2010.  It was one of the happiest days in my life when I greeted and served my very first customer.  I felt like I had found my purpose and had a renewed sense of pride.  To be able to say this is my store and with the help of my Partner and family none of it could have been possible.  But now I am very disappointed and feeling let down.  Since I have opened there has only been 2 months that I earned enough to be able to pay my rent, electricity with a little left for supplies. Sounds crazy doesn't  it.  I started this journey knowing full well that it wouldn't make me rich. I wasn't expecting to pull a salary, but what I had hoped was that I could make enough to cover at least 75% of my expenses.  At this point I'm not even covering 50%.  At the end of the month, however much I'm short, I have to take out of our personal accounts.  Needless to say our accounts and credit cards are maxed out.  Believe me when I tell you, I have tried everything within my power to get the word out about the store, but all has been to no avail.  I even set up last year at the Victorian Christmas Market.  It was a lot of fun and I really did not expect to sell very much but I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet folks and hand out some flyers.  But that was also to no avail.  I handed out around 100 flyers and gave out almost 180 free samples.  Everyone loved what I had to offer, but that was where it ended.  I have had many upsets and disappointments in my life, but this by far is the biggest and I'm not so sure I can come back after this.  My friends back home all full of encouragement, love and support....something I am definitely not getting here.  This was my dream, but I think the dream is over.  The way things are looking, I will probably have to sell or outright close the store in the next few months.  I'm hoping and praying for a miracle. You may wonder how it has come to this.  The answer is really simple.... Lack of support from the community, or in short NO CUSTOMERS.  I sat here last Friday all day, alone and did not have one customer.  This is, sadly, the case more often than not.  The store is warm and cozy.  I took special care in decorating buying products and I even included a baby changing table in the WC.  I wanted to give my customers something special.  I am a coffee snob.... I have worked in coffee shops half of my adult like and I LOVE GOOD COFFEE.  Not the stuff from the grocery store...I guess I have been spoiled in that regard.  I had great teachers in terms of drink prep, product quality, customer service, customer retention, etc.  But that counts for nothing here, or so I feel.  I understand that the world as a whole is in economic difficulty, and folks have to count there pennies.  The bottom line is, they still spend money.  The other side of the problem is my location.  When searching for a place for my store my main factor was the cost of rent.  I looked at places but they were all outside of my budget.  Then, I found Wandbeker Chaussee 44.  I thought this is perfect.  There is a SBahn station on the corner, apartment and houses, as well as businesses.  People seemed to be moving about...I thought Great, Malibu Surf has found a home.  WROOOOOONG!  This has turned out to be the WORST possible location ever!  Sure, there are people going here and there.  I see them everyday walk by my door.  This street is dead, it is merely a pass through point heading in other directions.  Wish I known that before....yeah, hindsight is "20/20".  As you are reading this, you are probably thinking "well why doesn't she just move to another location".  Good thought.  I have had that thought too but it takes money, which I am totally out of.  I would love to move.  I know this type of place could make it.  I was walking my son to Kita this morning and wouldn't you know it, there is a space thats being completely renovated and will probably be available for rent if it´s not already taken.  It is located right between my apartment and my lil boy´s Kita.  Perfect right?  So, what do I do?  Pack it in and go clean toilets?  I don´t think so.  I am not a quitter and I will hang on until the bitter end.  Thanks for listening!

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