Black Dog Squared

Issue No: 7

Ethan Cullingworth

May 7, 2021

Black Dog Squared

After a few months of planning, many delays and uncomfortable waiting, plus a lot of running around, Black Dog Coffee House was able to open it’s second location. Expansion is a trend we’ve seen around the Billings coffee scene the past couple of years, with varying rates of success. We were cautious in our approach to growth for a few reasons.  

The Pandemic

COViD has impacted the globe in many ways. Business wise, we’ve seen companies die off in droves and get replaced just as quickly. We are fortunate enough to be supported in all the ways we need by the Billings community; in fact we’ve gotten busier. 

Trying to be aware of the current economical climate, but also step into our future as a business has been a tumultuous journey, one we haven’t had to make before. In the end we felt, and feel, confident in what we’re creating enough to trust in what’s to come. 

Our Standard

We hold ourselves to a high standard at Black Dog, one we are not willing to look past. Opening a second location means we can’t be as attentive and give all our energy to one space. The team needs not only to expand, but to step up and be a bigger part of the company as a whole. Our desire is to have the Black Dog Experience be equal at each location, to have our patrons choose a location not because their drink taste better at one, but rather because they would prefer to soak in the aromas of flowers and plants at Roots, or instead sit down in a more traditional café setting before before perusing Joy of Living next door at our location on 24th. 

This means us on-boarding and integrating new team members, and preparing the mindset and abilities for those of us who are already established. This takes time, and is a process better left to its own organic pace, especially due to the fast pace with which we operate. Our café’s are busy, and introducing new people to our work environment can be daunting for them. Not letting our team members get burnt out or stressed is very important to us, as in the end we are human beings first, and employees second. 

Our Values

The question of adding a second spot was, for a long time, never even on the table. Our belief in what we do and how we do it, is why we do it. Expansion simply… didn’t fit, at the time. We didn’t have the resources or desire to expend on that type of growth. Inside of a sustainable business model, our focus has aways been more on quality than quantity, with emphasis on things like:

  • Genuine interactions in each encounter 
  • Focusing on quality of cup, not how many are served
  • Creating and sustaining incredible culture

For the first three years of us being open, these areas needed enough energy from us that expanding felt like it would stretch us to the point we wouldn’t be able to maintain the standard we want. 

That time, however, is over, and expanded we have. We are beyond excited and thankful to have had the opportunity to grow and establish ourselves in the Billings community enough to warrant a bigger presence. 

That Being Said…

We’ve been operating inside of Roots Tree Nursery for a while now, and have loved every second of it. Working with the team that runs Roots is a wonderful experience; all of them are incredibly warm and friendly, knowledgable on the ins and outs of their store and have the best advice for all things plant related. 

Marie, next door to us at the gallery, provides aromatherapy, scintillating conversation, and a broad appreciation for all things fine and floral. Each display is worth a second look, as details missed on the first glance begin to appear like the Gnomes scattered around the store for the kids to find. 

I have more to say about this new hub of activity that has been bustling with activity this summer, and will do so in detail next time, till then if you come up to the Black Dog counter at Roots with your new favorite plant we’ll extend a 10% discount on your drink!