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New York’s fastest growing coffee chain is showing no signs of slowing down.
If you haven’t visited New York since the beginning of the pandemic, you may be wondering where all of those aqua-tinted cafe outposts came from. In only two short years, Blank Street Coffee has evolved from a small concept for a more efficient cafe into a New York empire. Described as “suddenly inescapable” by the New York Times, Blank Street Coffee seems to have taken over Manhattan overnight. So, you may be wondering, what is this new chain about and how did they get so popular overnight?
Blank Street Coffee was founded in 2020 by owners Issam Freiha and Vinay Menda, who moved to New York for college and quickly became acquainted with the city’s bustling coffee scene. Analyzing the industry from the perspective of a venture capitalist, the two friends theorized that they could radically change the industry by approaching it from a new direction. While many companies have been following the Starbucks model of creating a kind of second home for customers, Blank Street prioritizes efficiency. For the City That never Sleeps, Freiha and Menda figured out that the best way to sell to New Yorkers was by getting them their coffee with as little delay as possible.
The concept began as a chain of small, battery-powered carts that saved the company a substantial amount of money on real estate and energy. These cost-cutting methods provided Blank Street with two distinct advantages. First, it enabled them to keep their coffee as affordable as possible (which is more important than ever before in our new era of inflation). Second, it enabled Blank Street to pay their baristas a living wage. Starting out with a guaranteed minimum of $23 an hour, Blank Street employees also receive benefits like mental health support and exclusive opportunities for promotions. Thanks to their emphasis on fair wages, Blank Street employees report an extremely positive company culture that is well reflected in the quality of their service.
Today, only two years after launching their first cart, Blank Street now operates over 40 unique locations across Manhattan and is showing no signs of stopping any time soon. Their next outpost will be opening up in Greenwich Village at 668 Broadway, in the heart of NYU (go Violets!). Blank Street will occupy a 960 square foot space on the ground floor of the building, which is surprisingly spacious when compared to their other locations. Additionally, the building will also be home to a full service veterinary clinic called Bond Vet, which is expected to open in the winter.
Cushman & Wakefield representative Sean Moran said of the deal that “Residents of the neighborhood and over 50,000 NYU students will benefit from Blank Street Coffee’s high quality, yet affordable products,” adding that “the property’s excellent location allows both companies to cater to the dynamic student and professional population.”
For more information on Blank Street’s latest expansions, you can follow the company on Instagram