Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream during a Recession

Friends often ask me if I see the effects of the recession here in LA. My answer before was, "Not really." More recently I can answer an astounding "yes." All around my neighborhood there are apartments going for rent, houses for sale, and businesses shutting down. Most recently I've noticed the Videohut on my street has been shut down. Bad for them, good for any investor wanting to start a business. As far as commercial space goes, the spot is ideal. It's right off Vermont, and right in the heart of Los Feliz. I think it would be an ideal spot for anyone with a solid business plan. 

While I'm in no place to start a business of my own, I can't help but brain-storm what kind of business would work well there. At first I thought a new coffee shop would do well. It's tough because the resident coffee-shop (Pyshco-Babble) is right next door. But in all honesty I think any coffee shop could put them out of business. Their service sucks, the menu is extremely limited, and the seating is shabby at best(even with newly purchased couches). I'll admit I go there frequently, but only out of convenience. 

I thought a bar or restaurant would do well. But the area is extremely saturated with those services already, and while a few genres of food are missing from the area, I think it'd be way to risky to compete on such a busy street. 

As far as retail stores go, the area is missing a music store, tech store (like an apple store), and a world export/antique type store. But I think opening any type of retail based industry would be an awful idea in a recession/borderline depression. 

I also thought about a gym type service: martial arts studio, yoga gym, boxing gym, etc... But I think the demographic is not quite right for that type of place.

Which leads me to my last idea, which is a great one if I do say so myself: an old school ice cream shop. Brilliant eh? Firstly, it's hot in LA. People are always looking for something to cool down. Secondly, there are tons of yogurt stands and froo-froo smoothie stands, but no good whole calorie artisan ice cream places. Services  like Burger King and Carl's Jr. still compete with their healthier counterparts like Subways and, ummmm, McDonalds? Thirdly, you can use the space for a coffee-shop-type space as well. Los Angeles has more writers than anywhere, and they're always looking for hip-places to congregate and work. Congregating people=business. Just make sure you have some nice coffee to serve. Fourthly, it's a family friendly concept. Build anything that attracts a family atmosphere and you instantly open up your demographic two-fold. It's why G rated movies do so well. Lastly, you could remodel. Place a wall right under the loft, and you'd have space for the register and ice-cream makers. It works perfectly. And my favorite part of the whole thing? Me getting to make up ice-cream flavors...

Adobe Delight- A long time ago my Mom actually won a silent auction prize that enabled us to come up with an ice cream flavor (an owner of an ice cream shop was the father of a kind in my class). This is what we came up with: Coffee ice cream, swirls of caramel, and chunks of cookie crust. Just think mud pie in ice cream form.

Tahitian Vanilla- Everybody loves vanilla. Cause it's vanilla. Just make sure you get high quality vanilla, and add a little of that bean in there. Yum. 

Peppermint- Just take some vanilla and through in some peppermint in there. I had a homemade version of this on an ice cream cake and it was delicious. Plus the way the mint and coldness of the ice cream play on your tongue is wonderful. 

Berkshire Blackberry- There was an ice cream story in Lenox called Bev's that we would often stop at after school. My Mom's favorite flavor there was this blackberry ice cream. It was delicious. And it's a flavor you don't see too often, so I think it would do well. 

Fat Dad- Ok, so this is a poor rip off of Ben and Jerry's 'Chubby Hubby'. But it's one of the best flavors I can think of: vanilla ice cream, peanut butter swirl, and chocolate covered pretzels. If heaven was an ice cream that is what it would be. I think to add a twist I would try putting in crunchy peanut butter. 

Maple Pecan- Something about maple syrup ice cream sounds delicious. And with toasted pecan pralines? yum. 

Bailey's Mint Chip- Why don't they make Bailey's Irish cream anymore? I'd throw some mint chips in there. Who doesn't love mint in ice cream?

Lastly, I would totally offer root-beer floats, served in cool looking soda fountain style long cups, and with long spoons. Or any soda float you want for that matter. Hmm, all this ice cream talk is making me hungry...

What flavors would you make? 

No comments: