Boston 'Bugle Boy' brews buzz, aims to 'give away' shops
Tucked away on the side streets of Downtown Boston, something isbrewing, and if you follow the sound of a bugle echoing through thealleyways, you are likely to find it.
Tucked away on the side streets of Downtown Boston, something is brewing, and if you follow the sound of a bugle echoing through the alleyways, you are likely to find it.
In just 88 days, the man behind the musical instrument, Tom Barnes, has made a name for himself as “Bugle Boy,” blowing in to a bronze horn and welcoming people to his new coffee shop “Boston Brewin’” on Bromfield Street.
Barnes, who owns the tiny cafe, has a vision to open 20 more local stores in the future, and give them away one by one to people willing to contribute to the community.
“It’s about giving back — you have got to give back,” said Barnes, who has a background in business and fundraising.
“I want to build a big family of people that really get it and take care of one another,” he said.
Barnes’ vision would work like an ecosystem of self-sustaining coffee shops, all relying on each other to pitch in, purchasing products from Barnes once he buys out his coffee bean wholesaler.
“I love it, it’s something the economy needs,” said store manager Joy Snow. “Basically, buy the store, pay off the debt, then give the store away and then go onto the next one … it’s like a rotating Ferris wheel.”
While Barnes admits it will take time and dedication, his shop has already doubled its sales as customers stop in and are known on a first-name basis.
“This place is the best — the coffee is good, service is really good and Thomas is superfriendly,” said Dana Lyford as she grabbed a cup of joe.
The coffee shop giveaway
If you can prove you have what it takes to run a Boston Brewin' Coffee Company shop, Barnes will give it to you.
Barnes said he wants to create a community of “like-minded individuals who all have faith in Boston and Boston Brewin’ Coffee Co.” and once his idea gets going, he only expects a commitment to helping others.
“If we open 20 shops that’s a big family of people making a big difference in this city. What couldn’t we do?,” he said.
Barnes hopes to open a second store by next year.
New stores would offer Wi-Fi, seating and sandwiches.
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear