Getting in the newspaper

Coffee 'n Cream

On a recent morning I found myself again in Fairfax. It was suggested I go check out Coffee ‘n Cream, a coffee shop and soft serve ice cream parlor along Wooster Pike. I did and was pleasantly surprised by what I found: A very attentive owner in an owner-operated coffee shop with good coffee.

I plopped down and proceeded to leech the Cincinnati Bell wi-fi from the Speedway gas station across the street (CnC’s connection was down) and got talking to Joe Schneider, the guy who owns the place.

When people find out what I do for a living I often get asked about how to get stories in the paper. Many times it’s an entrepreneur looking to find the hook that will get a story in the media and then loads of customers in their door. My first quip is usually that there is an easy way to get in the news – and a hard way. The easy way, of course, would be to make news – say, by robbing banks, or worse. For the record, I don’t recommend that. The hard waCoffee 'n Creamy would be to convince some journalist that you have a story worth telling. (Granted, this is the old style of top-down story telling that I think is dying, so don’t think I’m completely forgetting myself here.)

I told Joe that he needed a hook. That would be something that makes his place special – a stand-out among the plethora of individually-owned coffee shops in the area who serve good coffee (though he serves soft serve ice cream, too, which I thought was kind of unique).

He then expressed his frustration that his “passengers” (he sometimes slips, calling his customers by what they called them at Delta Airlines, where he worked for more than 20 years before retiring) love his “splash sticks,” something that he has used for about two years. Then he pointed to an article in USA Today (the same paper owned by the parent company that owns the The Cincinnati Enquirer) that he clipped out and put on the wall. It was about Starbucks – with a location just about a half-mile down the road from him in Mariemont) – was finally getting to introducing the same thing. He said he has tried to pitch to local reporters who frequent his shop to do a story on his business – but no takers.

I can understand his frustration. I told him I would blog about his dilemma, let my readers know what a good coffee shop he is running and see if anyone else would link and/or write about it. It’s too bad that sometimes things like this are happening in our own backyard, yet we can’t find the space to fit it in our own local paper. I think just about every locally-owned business is worth writing about to some extent.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

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