Not sure what to do with that awkward public space in front of your shop? Maybe it’s time for a parklet.
The parklet concept is not new. It first took off in Left Coast cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles beginning in 2010, but it seems to have survived a kind of trial period among many other city planners and business owners. The recipe for parklets — which almost always fall on underutilized public space such as extended street sidewalks or parking spaces — typically involves some combination of public and private funding.
For the municipality, the parklet is primarily an opportunity for private investment in a public space that can help draw people to a retail corridor. For coffee shop owners, the parklet is an opportunity for additional seating and positive relations within the community.
See some lovely examples of succesful, happy coffee-shop-funded parklets at Four Barrel (San Francisco), Mojo Cafe (San Francisco), and Caffe Calabria (San Diego). Brand spanking new parklets include this $17,000, 5-to-7 seater with rain garden outside Olympia Coffee Roasting (Olympia, Wash.), and this big $26,000 beauty outside Simple Pleasures Cafe in San Francisco’s Richmond District.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome. See the "About Us" page located at the bottom of this site for contact information.