Nautical Bean owner Brett Jones believes finding the right fit within the community is perhaps the most important aspect in successfully expanding his business.
That’s a big reason why Jones, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than two decades, is so excited to open a second Nautical Bean location in San Luis Obispo.
Six months ago, Jones purchased the new space at 2010 Parker St. — previously occupied by Z Club — and he is optimistic the coffeehouse and bistro will be ready to open in September.
The new location is more than 2,700-square-feet, a significantly larger space than the original Nautical Bean (960 square feet), which Jones has owned since 2002 in the Laguna Lake Shopping Center.
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“The size is cool, the parking lot is great, but what I’m most excited about is the neighborhood,” Jones said. “(We’re) going into a neighborhood that’s been a little bit under-serviced on this type of business.”
This isn’t Jones’ first crack at expansion.
Nautical Bean briefly opened a downtown location in 2011. That shop stayed in business “for a blink of an eye,” Jones said, before closing its doors eight months later because sales were below what he initially projected.
That allowed Jones to pour more resources into the original shop, and it led to exponential growth. Though Jones declined to discuss any financial particulars, he said the company has been thriving and he feels confident about opening another shop five years later.
“Year over year we’ve had a steady increase, but we’ve also been conservative,” Jones said. “We’ve put a lot of money back into the business. We’ve been pouring into our employees a lot. We’ve always told them: As we grow, they grow.”
We’ve put a lot of money back into the business. We’ve been pouring into our employees a lot. We’ve always told them: As we grow, they grow.
Brett Jones, owner of Nautical Bean
Jones said he plans to hire about 15 people to work at the new location, while blending in more experienced employees from the original shop to maintain high quality of service. The new shop will mimic the original aesthetically, which Jones said is “really pop culture driven.”
He’s also excited about including a conference room that can be used for private events. Jones said he has taken a more relaxed approach to outfitting the shop after buying entirely new equipment in 2011.
“We’ve been picking up stuff at a bargain,” Jones said, “so we’re not as stressed out financially when we’re going in.”
The food and drink menu will remain largely the same, Jones said, with Nutty Bean drip coffee and breakfast burritos among the local favorites. He’s also considering serving a small selection (two or three taps) of beer and wine.
Ultimately, Jones believes Nautical Bean’s food is what separates it from other coffeehouses in the area. They have a strong working relationship with SLO Baked Bakeries, and Jones said he will likely need to hire someone to take over the mounting food prep duties that come with a second location.
“We roast all of our chicken, we make all of our own bacon,” Jones said. “All the salad dressings are fresh made in-house every day.”
Customers will still be able to see their food being prepped behind the bar, and Jones hopes the friendly vibe will carry over from the original space.
“Everything is an open, social environment,” Jones said. “That’s what we’ve always tried to do.”