Seattle inspires courthouse coffee cart

RETAIL & ADVERTISING

April 21, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Sun Staff Writer

What has four wheels, a motor, a refrigerator and a sink?

Throw in a green umbrella and you have Jamie L. Jones' espresso and cappuccino stand at the corner of Calvert and Fayette streets.

Ms. Jones, an aspiring actress who has put her waitressing experience to entrepreneurial use, set up the black-and-red stand outside the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse about two weeks ago. Her partner in the venture is Peter Winer, a financial planner.

The idea for the cart came about six months ago when Mr. Winer went to Seattle and saw espresso stands everywhere he went. "It will be interesting to see if Baltimore can support an outside cart," Ms. Jones said recently, standing next to the propane-fueled generator that powers her cappuccino machines.

In recent months there has been a rash of businesses established in the Baltimore area serving the exotic caffeine delights, but Ms. Jones' cart is one of the first outdoor vendors.

The 6-month-old venture, dubbed Jitters, now consists of one $12,000 cart. But Ms. Jones, 28, hopes to have two more by the end of the year.

While the sidewalk outside the courthouse has been profitable territory for the traditional vendors of hot dogs and sausages, vendors of sugar cookies, lemonade and other alternative fare have come and gone.

But Ms. Jones hopes she will be different.

"It's been great so far," she said, with about half her customers trying espresso or cappuccino for the first time. "This is where my bartending experience pays off."

For bigger tastes

For those whose shopping tastes are more expansive, Caldor, a leading discount retailer, is set to open a 110,783-square-foot store at the Parkway Crossing Shopping Center at 2501 Cleanleigh Drive in Baltimore County on May 12. It will be the 10th Caldor store in the Baltimore area.

The store will add another 250 full- and part-time workers to Caldor's Baltimore-area work force of 1,107. Besides offering its usual selection of merchandise, the new store has a carousel offering free rides for children. And for those who can give up their TV habit even while they shop, there will be televisions playing various video releases.

New mall stores

Stores for jewelry, shoes and trendy furniture have recently opened at two of the largest malls in the area.

Littman Jewelers and Father & Son Shoes have set up shop at Security Square Mall in Woodlawn. Littman, based in Edison, N.J., is a family-owned jewelry store chain with more than 100 locations nationally. Father & Sons, a subsidiary of the London-based Hanson Industries, specializes in footwear for men and boys and has 160 stores in the United States.

Around the Beltway, Sante Fe Way Inc., formerly of Ellicott City, has set up its store that specializes in Southwestern art, furniture and accessories in the glittering Towson Town Center. "As much as we loved the quaint cobblestone streets of the historic district [of Ellicott City], they simply could not accommodate the large truckloads of furniture being delivered on a daily basis," said Kim Hightower, owner of the store.

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