The Coffee Connection was founded by Leigh McDonald, an American expat in Amsterdam. She had trained under Alfred Peete, the Dutch expat who introduced coffee-shops as we know them to America. How is that for an odd twist? Each batch of beans were roasted by the founder herself, and she had no time for such silly things like decaf. We thought was her obvious USP. “Decaffeinated espresso is like alcohol free whiskey,” as I always say.
We mocked the other kind of Amsterdam coffee shops with a “drugs” sign in the window declaring no soft drugs available within. We stickered all the parking meters near the shop with a warning not to operate heavy machinery after consuming her coffee. We used the open faxes in offices around her shop as media and sent ads there, which new customers brought in with them hoping for a discount on their morning cuppa. Just a block away were the late night bars, and in each bathroom we put stickers on the mirrors declaring the need for a strong cup of coffee next day.