Hyattsville needs a coffee shop.
But a coffee shop is a different thing. It is, as Hemingway wrote, a “clean and pleasant café” that is “well-lighted.” (He also said it shouldn’t have music, but we differ on that point.) Or, in the words of sociologist Ray Oldenburg, it is “a great good place” — a third space after our homes and workplaces:
The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people’s more serious involvement in other spheres. … They are the heart of a community’s social vitality, the grassroots of democracy, but sadly, they constitute a diminishing aspect of the American social landscape.
The original plan for the Arts District was to include either a Starbucks, Caribou Coffee or even local coffee roasters Mayorga. That didn’t work out (though there is a Starbucks near the Prince George’s Metro) but that doesn’t mean there’s not a market for it. (Chipotle also initially said no — and it’s always packed.)
Even better would be an independent, maybe an outpost of something like Zeke’s, which is opening a shop farther south on Rhode Island Avenue and is a popular vendor at the Riverdale Park Farmer’s Market.
Sure, running a coffee shop is hard work, and profits average about 2.5 percent. But coffee consumption grew five percent since last year and there are now 20,000 coffee shops in the U.S. with combined revenues of more than $10 billion. (And how many products are psychologically guaranteed to draw repeat business?)