How minding the Ps created an award winning business

on Thursday, 03 June 2010. Posted in N21 Business Blog

Every business should have a story and indeed very often a successful new business has a clear story to tell. Here's how Karen and Gunter have created a business that has won numerous awards, My Coffee Stop on Enfield Chase Station - a story in minding your Ps.



My Coffee Stop, on Platform One (the upline) on Enfield Chase Station is owned and managed by partners Gunter Hollenstein and Karen Mercer, who have two young children. The coffee shop opened for business in February 2009, just three months after the birth of their second addition. Gunter has over 12 years experience as a barista, whilst Karen's experience was in media, formerly working as an LBC Radio Traffic & Travel presenter. The couple did their research, talked to passengers on the platform and sought advice from Enfield Enterprise, the government funded body which provides masses of support and training for new business start ups.



Offering a high quality product was essential to the My Coffee Stop proposition, to encourage commuters to make it to front end of Platform One and spend money on coffee and other goodies on a regular basis. Gunter and Karen are passionate about high quality, natural foods, their products are 100% vegetarian and they stock a wide range of Fairtrade products, including Ubuntu Cola and Divine Chocoloate. They have become leading local advocates of Fairtrade in Enfield - saving THE PLANET - to sneak in another P. Its not just about ethical foods, its also about quality, Gunter's home made Muffins, made between serving customers are a must-try.


My Coffee Stop is in a very small space, but that space is packed with personality, the walls are decorated with warm colours, there’s a comfy sofa and chair, lots of books and leaflets to pick up and read, a community notice board overflowing with business cards and posters (including n21online!) and always some new event, or initiative to bring people in. 

Gunter is the one you’ll find serving in the shop, most days and his personality is loved by all the customers, he’s always got a smile and a cheerful comment or cheeky story, no matter how early it is in the morning and he has an amazing ability to remember what your ‘usual’ is, even if you’ve only been in once before!

Karen's role is to promote the business even further through inspirational speaking, in which she presents the My Coffee Stop story to local schools, colleges, Rotary clubs and other business events.


My Coffee Stop has two strong causes that it actively promotes through the shop. The first is Chickenshed Theatre, the inclusive theatre charity group and the second is their mission to support Fairtrade farmers through selling Fairtrade products.  Actively supporting and highlighting these causes, provides positive messages to promote the ethos of My Coffee Stop, to the local community.


The My Coffee Stop story is novel and newsworthy enough to have made local newspaper editors sit up and take notice. Karen and Gunter have achieved spectacular coverage in all the local newspapers, plus on BBC Television and on local Enfield Radio, as well as on Radio 2 and Smooth Radio.

Within just 6 months of being in business, My Coffee Stop won the prestigious North and West London, Archant Business Award for Innovation and then went on to win Enterprise Enfield’s Green Business of the Year Award, as well as the runner-up prize for Enterprise Enfield’s Start-Up Business of the Year Award and now My Coffee Stop are Silver winners in the Smooth Radio, Love London Awards.

These continual successes have created significant local media coverage and kept My Coffee Stop in the limelight. The My Coffee Stop website, created by Karen and has embedded You Tube videos and a feed on the homepage from Facebook. In fact You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Flickr are all used to communicate with their customers and their suppliers and to link up with local businesses and to cross-promote.




Word of mouth, as well as video sharing, Facebooking and Tweeting have been important for encouraging people to go and have a look at this small little coffee shop at the far end of Enfield Chase staion which has attracted so much attention.



The two final Ps for People and Passion are probably the most important. People like to do business with people they like and both Karen and Gunter are very personable (another P), committed, not just to their new business and their business story but are also passionate in running a business that gives something back to the community, through support for sustainablity, charity, the local community and supporting other small businesses.


Take a couple of stops up the line from Winchmore Hill or Grange Park stations to experience the My Coffee Stop story and don't forget to take some books along to swap! My Coffee Stop is open Monday to Friday 6am - 2pm, an early start for Gunter, but it gives him time to spend the rest of the day with his family.

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"I just wanted to say how much I loved this article.  The emotion I felt on reading it was so heart felt and warm.  I really enjoyed it.

I do know Karen personally, and have visited My Coffee Stop and found it to be small and cosy, warm and friendly.  I just love Karen's energy and inspiration she gives off.  Meeting Gunter was a pleasure, he's very friendly and cheeky.

Great story, loved it!"

Sharon Battershield-Corbin

Every business should have a story and indeed very often a successful new business has a clear story to tell. Here's how Karen and Gunter have created a business that has won numerous awards, My Coffee Stop on Enfield Chase Station - a story in minding your Ps.

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