Competition brewing between Louisville coffee shops as new locations pop up

Updated: Sep. 18, 2017 at 7:46 PM EDT
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Please & Thank You is known for its cookies. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Please & Thank You is known for its cookies. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Quills roasts their coffee beans on site. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Quills roasts their coffee beans on site. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The competition between coffee shops in Louisville is getting much tighter as more shops are opening near their competitors.

Since July, Quills and Please & Thank You have opened shops less than a mile from the original Please & Thank you on East Market and Shelby Streets.

Both shop owners said the locations don't matter as much because they are focusing on items that set them apart. Please & Thank You has their famous cookies and Quills is roasting the coffee beans they brew on-site.

"People are more thoughtful about their food and drink," Quills owner Nathan Quillo said.

Quillo opened the first Quills coffee shop 10 years ago. Since then he has grown to five shops and a bigger roastery at the new Main Street location.

"It was taking the comfortable coffee house and making it a little bit more elevated experience," Quillo said.

Quillo said the focus is on fresh coffee roasted in-house, but it's also important for the food to be made locally.

"The demand is not slowing down," Quillo said. "I think people really care about specialty. They care about seasonality. They care about freshness."

Quillo said the coffee shop growth in Louisville is a recent trend.

One of their competitors, Please & Thank You, recently opened their third coffee shop on East Market and Floyd.

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"Quills opened one block from us down in NuLu and I thought that would hurt our sales," owner Brooke Vaughn said. "No, sales are up."

Vaughn opened Please & Thank you six years ago and based her shop around a cookie recipe that took two years to develop.

"The cookie is the thing that pushes our brand forward and separates us," Vaughn said.

Vaughn's goal is to open a new shop every 18 months. She said the newest location on Floyd Street serves a different crowd from the original Please & Thank You just seven blocks away.

"It's a different crowd," Vaughn said. "It's the more of a 9 to 5 work crowd."

Both owners said Louisville is big enough for multiple coffee shops in one neighborhood, but there is only room for one to be the best.

"I feel like we are just getting started," Quillo said.

Quills will soon open their sixth location in St. Matthews.

Please & Thank You will remodel their NuLu location this winter and has plans to open their fourth coffee shop within the next year.

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