How to brew a successful business from a celebrated local coffee maker

This week on Leaders and Legends, host Aileen Black interviewed Michael Amouri, owner of Caffe Amouri. Amouri shared how he went from successful TV producer to building an award-winning coffee shop dedicated to not only serving a great cup of coffee but also serving the community.

Conversation takeaways:

  • Key strategies used to open his successful small business: Amouri did research and prepared a 50-page business plan, then waited until he found the perfect location.
  • A commitment to quality over profits and a true commitment to making a difference in the community will ensure long-term success and a loyal customer base. Amouri shared his favorite definition of success by Coach John Wooden, “Wooden defined successthis way, ‘Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.’ If you open a small business with only profit in mind you will loose sight of the one of the most important aspects of a successful small business, the customer experience,” Amouri said.
  • Employees are assets not business expenses. Amouri looks for employees with personality and high degree of curiosity. He said he invests in employee development at a rate that rarely found in small businesses by providing benefits and training.
  • Caffe Amouri provides a full array of classes to become a certified barista to coffee tastings.
  • Advice for starting a new small business. “Make sure you are having fun,” Amouri said. “If I ever violated that rule, I made a mistake.” Michael also stressed the importance of having a well thought out plan. “It will be the blueprint for your success. After a year, if it isn’t working, you will know what you need to do,” Amouri said.

Caffe Amouri is a small coffee shop in Vienna, Virginia and opened in 2010 as an independent coffeehouse and artisan roaster with two simple goals: Satisfy the mission statement of “quality, community, sustainability” and live the mantra of “Every customer who walks in the door should leave ​feeling just a little bit better.”

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Caffe Amouri was a Vienna town secret but not anymore. Caffe Amouri has won numerous awards including Washingtonian’s Best Indie Coffeehouse, WTOP’s Best Coffeehouse in the DMV, Northern Virginia Magazine’s Best Coffeehouse and has been featured in both Virginia Living Magazine and Connection Newspapers. Caffe Amouri was also a past winner of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Virginia Green Restaurant of the Year and Virginia Green Business of the Year awards.

Caffe Amouri was also named as one reason Vienna is the best place to live in U.S. in Money Magazine and featured as a “Small Business Success Story” in Kiplinger’s Personal Financial Magazine.