Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Carol-Anne Faint

Abstract

Successful independent coffee shop owners in Washington struggle to compete with the larger coffee shop chains. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to investigate what strategies owners of independent coffee shops in Washington use to survive beyond the first 5 years. Five independent coffee shop owners in Washington participated in the study and shared their practices and observations. Systems theory directed the study exploring the perspectives of successful independent coffee shop owners in Washington. Using communication skills and personal availability to answer questions and remain in contact throughout the research process built a rapport with participants. Data were gathered from participant interviews and from an examination of available physical artifacts such as the locations, premises, websites, and social media pages. Within-method triangulation was used to ensure the participant interview data were interpreted with credibility and transparency. Three primary themes appeared from the study: community involvement, customer loyalty, and location. Encouraging community involvement generates product awareness, which creates new business. Based on the independent coffee shop owners' descriptions, community involvement, customer loyalty, and location were important strategies to increase profits. The implications for social change include added community involvement, customer loyalty, and location. Involvement in the community generated revenue, customer loyalty, and community opportunities. Independent coffee shop owners may remain sustainable by incorporating these strategies.