By Amanda Weber
Frequent patrons of local coffee shop Saints Rest will be interested to learn of the upcoming expansion taking place within the business. A second location is being built in the form of a kiosk in Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. Saints Rest owner Sam Cox was approached by the company in July, and the kiosk is projected to be finished by the end of the year.
“I had been looking for the last, probably, two years for a way to grow the business … and so when they approached me it seemed like a good opportunity — a little risk with hopefully some reward in the end,” Cox said. “To be afforded the opportunity by a large corporation that thinks we can add something positive to their bottom-line — that’s fantastic.”
According to Cox, the company is seeking to keep up with larger insurance companies in Des Moines who offer their employees similar kiosks within their headquarters. With the new partnership, Grinnell Mutual will be able to offer their employees this benefit, plus the addition of Saints Rest’s unique charm.
“[Grinnell Mutual] felt like it was a nice benefit, a perk if you will, to offer that to their employees. A lot of their employees commute out of the Des Moines and Ankeny area and so not always timely for them to get their coffee on the way,” she explained.
The kiosk will, of course, be an extension of Saints Rest, but will be a good deal smaller and more selective in its menu. Cox intends for the new location to be much more focused on convenience.
“It’s obviously much smaller, so we won’t even have an in-house seating area,” Cox said. “I will, for example, not be offering baked goods in the beginning and not be offering ceramic cups of any kind. Everything is to-go, to take back with them to their desk. … [It’s] just a much more streamlined menu.”
The kiosk represents progress to Cox, in line with her hopes for eventual growth of the business. She has brainstormed a number of ideas for ways Saints Rest could continue to expand, from a drive-through to a mobile unit to a location in a more distant community like Montezuma.
“I would like to expand our business, even past a kiosk there, but at this point it’s baby steps,” she expressed.
As for the current expansion, Cox is optimistic about its future impact on business. With any expansion comes the opportunity for a boost in name recognition and an increase in clientele, and Cox’s hope is that the new kiosk will be no exception.
“You obviously just hope that your name is going to be more recognized, and possibly those people that are being introduced to me at the Grinnell Mutual location will come [to the original location] also,” she said.
An increase in recognition and revenue isn’t Cox’s only goal, though. She sees the development as a chance for Saints Rest to grow and progress in general, and plans to make the most of the opportunity.
“I’m just hoping to improve upon what we’re already doing,” she said.
When asked how she personally feels about the expansion, she expressed a mixture of anticipation and apprehension.
“Gosh, [I’m] excited or nervous, it’s a half and half thing,” Cox said. “I’m just excited to have the opportunity to grow. … But there’s also a lot of trepidation and nervousness and worry that goes into trying to operate another spot.”
However, Cox is just as focused on Saints Rest’s present situation as she is on its future prospects. She remains attentive to the current functioning of the business, and conveyed gratitude for the shop’s present success and for the support system of her customers.
“I’m just incredibly grateful for all of the customers and clientele that I already have,” Cox said. “We are so fortunate to be blessed with a lot of really loyal, lovely community business as well as college business.”