Destinations are places that we generally think of as far away. They take hours to get there and the journey is just a necessary evil. When you ride a motorcycle that is the exact opposite. Destinations can be anywhere and the journey to get there is more important than the where. Sometimes you get lucky and you find both a journey and a destination that are equally enjoyable. There is a local Cafe in Crownsville MD, that fits that description.
Bean Rush Cafe is small coffee shop with a rustic charm about it. There is faux brick on the walls, rough sawn wood adorning the face of the serving counter, and a giant clock in the wall with the numbers painted to tell the time. Combined with the thick butcher block style bar height seating in the middle and even a corner with leather stuffed chairs there is a lot of commingling styles. It all works perfectly. When you turn around however and look above the door you begin to see a different side of Bean Rush. This isn’t a kitschy place but a place for gathering, for sharing, and for spending a little time relaxing. That’s because above the door are pictures from people who come into Bean and have shared a moment with everyone else.
The next part that let’s you know it’s your kind of place is the greeting. They always say hello and you can tell they mean it. Imagine a business where they are genuinely glad to see you! Come there often enough and they will learn your name, your favorite drink and food order, and whatever else you choose to share. You end up making them a part of your life as much as you become a part of theirs. Sure it’s just when you visit the shop but when something feels like home to you it’s like visiting family.
All of this is well and good but how’s the coffee you ask? Well every successful business needs a good product to sell. Otherwise you can be the friendliest person in the world but you will also be out of business. Let’s just say I hardly miss a day of getting my favorite espresso beverage and home made banana bread. I get nervous shakes just thinking of dealing with coffee at any other place around. I am always disappointed in the other guys grounds. Couple the excellent coffee with the aforementioned banana bread, muffins, cupcakes, delectable sandwiches, and after Labor Day soup! I may have bugged them incessantly about the soup during the non-soup months of summer.
Mark and Shannon share a little history of how Bean Rush started:
Hospitality and customer service has always been in our blood and to be honest, it always will. Those that work in the service industry can attest to that ‘hospitality rush’. With that being said it is definitely not for everyone and requires a strong desire to go above and beyond and to always exceed customer expectations.
Having served five amazing years in the ever demanding high pressure world of private charter yachts in the Caribbean, we are definitely no strangers to long days and hard work. No matter how outrageous the client’s requests were, nothing was ever a problem. Five years working side by side and in close quarters with equally demanding clientele was a challenge at the best of times. Although working and living in the Caribbean on multi million dollar private yachts sounded very glamorous especially to close family members, the reality was it very demanding on the mind and body.
The adventure on the high seas came to an end when our desire to start a family came into fruition. This also paved the way in fulfilling our dreams of opening our very own cafe. The ever daunting thought of assimilating back into the ‘real world’ always loomed over our heads. Even with highly accredited (and financially crippling) college degrees we felt left behind by others who had progressed in the corporate world.
With a lot of dedication and perseverance, we are still breaking new ground and exploring new avenues. Even from the beginning it was no easy feat as neither of us had owned our own business but we were able to rely and support each other when things occasionally went South. There were moments in the developmental stages that we clearly had no idea what we were doing but somehow always made it through to the end with our sense of humour still intact.
Our initial year of Bean Rush Cafe in Crownsville was extremely nerve racking and a huge learning curve for the both of us but with consistently steady growth we were able to persevere past the dreaded small business one year mark and even more importantly, not be in the red so to speak. We have honestly been blessed with the most loyal and supportive locals and regulars that have become part of the greater Bean Rush family. Without them Bean Rush simply would not exist. Having not spent much money on marketing and advertising we relied on the tried and tested “word of mouth”marketing, placing a huge emphasis on quality customer service. Our first location in Crownsville is in a small community off the beaten track with no tourist trade or even walk by traffic. We therefore relied heavily on the repeat customers that were local to the area. We are also blessed to have four very loyal and supportive schools within the area that have parents and teachers requiring copious amounts of caffeine!
After two years of solid growth and a desire to expand (suckers for punishment) we decided to open up another Bean Rush in a similar location that prided itself in community. We originally did look at locations in larger shopping centers but none had the character of our signature store. A boutique location in West Annapolis presented itself and we didn’t hesitate to jump all over it. While slowly expanding the Bean Rush empire we also expanded our family at the same time with the birth of our beautiful daughter, Madeleine Rose a.k.a. Baby Bean. Although having never been so busy, both locations and our new family are both thriving and we couldn’t be more happy. With all this happening we are also developing a brand new concept in the US with a unique espresso van! It should hopefully be out in a few months! It is fair to say that after the van makes it’s debut we will be sticking to our original business plan by keeping things local, keeping things simple and delivering the best coffee house experience possible. Mark will also be teaching his daughter to make the meanest espresso around!