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  • Sergei Timshin

To-do list for opening a second location

Sofia in a front of the second store

Hi Friends,

We are getting closer to the opening date of SAVA 2.0 on Roncy, and things are getting really busy. We have to work in regime of constant multitasking and quite often problems pile up faster than we could sort them out. We just realized that the building permit that we received did not include the plumbing permit. They usually come together, but this time city decided to play their own game and we had to apply for it separately. So, it ended up taking us an extra 2 weeks to get the drawings, and it cost us around $1,500. Interestingly, but the drawings itself just took one day to prepare. The rest of 2 weeks was just a back and forth process and communications with engineers and the city. The most annoying part here is that it’s just a formality and mostly bureaucracy.

But nevertheless, I decided to show what was our initial to-do list for opening a cafe. First, we chose Notion as our CRM to manage tasks between me and Sofia. She put all the projects together and we assigned ourselves to each one. Then, when we had a ticket for each task we could add notes/contacts/pictures, etc. to them and keep track of the progress.

Here is what we had:

Our to-do list

Of course, it’s just a part of the to-do list, but I would highlight the biggest ones.

  1. Renovation. I hate when it takes contractors days to reply. For sure, cost is also important here. We previously got the quotes from $40K-$160K for the SAME TASK from different companies. Do not ask me how people estimate the cost of the renovation. When we were building the first location, one company sent us a quote for $100K to move a drywall and paint the store. The reasonable market price was around $20K

  2. Building permit. It’s a doc that you need to get from the city to start renovation. I may create a dedicated post about how we got it. By the way, if you buy a cafe you may avoid dealing with it. I wrote about it here

  3. Equipment. Before even starting any work, we had to figure out the store layout and equipment set up. So, we had to visualize the cafe first and only then planned all the works accordingly. Also, It helped us plan our budget as commercial equipment will cost a lot.

  4. Coffee Equipment. Fortunately, we already had our suppliers form 2 years ago when we were opening the first location. We had a dedicated company for the coffee equipment different from where we purchased fridges and other appliances. We worked with Zuccarini Importing. Sofia had a really good experience with them and these guys know everything about coffee.

  5. Business License. This document really stressed us out last time. If you are opening a cafe in a place which was previously used as an eating establishment, you can get this permission easily. We were lucky here. Otherwise, I assume it could become a pain in a neck

  6. Furniture. Commercial tables and chairs would cost around $250 per table and $150 per chair. But there is a life hack: you can get a decent offer on Facebook Marketplace and save a couple of grants.

  7. Millwork. It’s a counter with cabinets. Same here as for the renovation, we had many different quotes. The highest offer we got for the counter was $50,000. We managed to find it 2 times cheaper. It took us quite a lot of time to discuss the counter, and arrange all the details as we did not have a proper designer drawings. I would recommend start working of this asap.

  8. Signage. It is a sign that hangs on the facade of your store. I thought it would be easy to get it. After some research it started looking like a nightmare as some companies promised that we would need permits that could take weeks to get. Eventually, we managed to find a contractor who was a real problem solver. We decided to go with channel letter + side sign which were done for us for a really good price (and quality!) of $5000. Again, there were a lot of offers up to $13,000. By the way, this $13K offer did not include anything special. It’s just how prices may vary depending on a contractor.

I think these are the biggest and most expensive projects that we had to deal with so far. Of course, there are a lot of smaller tasks that may differ depending on a location. For example, here we realized at some point that we need extra radiators to heat the place when it’s cold. This task became a big project at some point. You can see some other tickets on a screenshot above, write in comments which one do you want me to talk about more!

Renovation of SAVA on Roncy

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Mar 01

We are opening a hearing clinic up the road from you (hi neighbour!) and this is SO RELATEABLE.

Sergei Timshin
Mar 03
Replying to

Hi neighbour! Thank you for your comment! We are glad we are not alone here. Stop by to say hi in-person :)

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