When Chad Welfle’s wife, Andrea Welfle, decided to open a coffee shop, Chad decided to play a consultative role.
He took her vision, identified areas where he could apply his knowledge and got to work –setting up a point-of-sale system and constructing tables and countertops, etc.
It takes a combination of all the skills he’s accrued over time – as a one-man-shop for a small IT company, then with Fortune 500 clients at Daugherty Business Solutions, and even construction and woodworking experience. By leveraging these skills, he and his wife save time and money. A coffee shop, after all, works with razor-thin margins.
And just like a consultant working with software solutions, Chad has to combine these skills into new and surprising skills, learning and adapting quickly.
Most of the time, when Chad tells people he works with IT solutions, they picture him implementing hardware or removing viruses from a computer. But Chad works more with background functions that produce a satisfying user experience. It’s like a house or skyscraper; when you look at it, you see its function and it looks nice, but you don’t necessarily see the structural components making it function.
In the same way, Chad has helped to produce an industrial modern feel for his wife’s coffee & boutique – a lot of glass, metal and grays. The walls are painted flat black. Most everything is a woodgrain tone. The peninsula countertop is butcher-block with a clear coat over the top, situated on a matte black custom-built wainscotting.
With the woodworking, Chad put in extra time caulking edges and sanding down surfaces. He doesn’t just want people to come in and think, “That’s nice.” He wants them to touch a tabletop, pause, and think, “That’s real smooth,” and have a positive experience from the high-quality craftsmanship.
This is the same kind of experience Chad seeks for his clients when he’s implementing software solutions.
And it starts by understanding the audience.
As a software engineer, Chad has to understand the domain in which he works, learning the terminology used by the domain experts, making sure he understands the business logic and communicating it in a way that’s free of technical jargon.
In the case of the coffee shop & boutique, Chad’s wife and business partner are targeting a younger audience consisting mostly of college students. Hence the industrial modern feel. But they also sell smoothies to attract the fitness class in the same plaza.
Ultimately, if the product is good, people will come.
Chad’s long-term goal is to tailor a custom point-of-sale system app for his wife, getting the pieces in place for her to be able to scale and to do things like automatically replace inventory.
You can visit the site of the coffee shop &. boutique, named Percolate, at www.percolatenewnan.com.
Do you have any unique quirks you’d like to share with the enterprise? Email us at Jake.Russell@daugherty.com.