By Christian Banks, Dutch Fork HS (Irmo, South Carolina)
While corporate coffee franchises are known more for their brand than their unique exposure, Curiosity Coffee Bar, located at 2327 Main St. in Columbia, SC, offers coffee lovers a memorable experience along with a drink.
“I came here because their Instagram had some really great looking baked goods and coffees on it, and I needed to give them a try,” customer Jessica Sheldon said.
Walking in through the door of The Vino Garage to see shelves lined with various wines and alcohol, the smell of fresh coffee lingers in the air. Looking around the building, a large blue wall with a giant logo reads “Curiosity Coffee Bar.”
Curiosity is a small coffee shop that shares a building space with The Vino Garage. The shop is owned by Greg Slattery, a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Greg was a public relations major at the SJMC, and when starting Curiosity, he used the knowledge gained from his degree to make his small shop known by many.
“It’s [Instagram] the biggest way we get people inside our doors,” Slattery said.
Coffee addicts are rarely curious about the origin of the coffee, but instead just crave the sensation of that first sip to soothe their thirst. At Curiosity Coffee Bar nothing you order is without an origin story. They have coffee coming from areas all over the world ranging from Ethiopia to Guatemala.
“Best cup of coffee you’re going to get,” Slattery said.
Curiosity offers a homey, welcoming atmosphere for both their human clientele and their canine visitors. On their social media, Curiosity posts pictures of the pups that come through their shop, which gives a sense of the fun and laid back ambiance of the shop.
“I think that’s pretty cool. It adds a personal connection to the place that otherwise you might just walk on by,” customer Scott West said.
Some customers pay Curiosity a visit not because of their social media but just for the feeling of close relationships that can be built with fellow customers and the employees.
“I generally don’t have to write a name on someone’s cup because I know them and their order, and I think people appreciate,” Slattery said.
Curiosity Coffee Bar offers the best of both worlds from their intimate interactions and quality of service to their dog-friendly environment, and excellent promoting capabilities with social media.
People love the dog pictures, they love the fact they can bring their pets in and just being able to visually express that,” said Kelley Mclachlan, “see[ing] people enjoy doughnuts people enjoying our snacks and scones, people enjoying coffee I think that makes you want to come in.”