They come in waves.
As new houses go up across the street, people begin to migrate out into the community – stopping first at the small businesses nearby that offer the sorts of things that people look for when they’re new in town.
A dry cleaner. A grocery store.
And more than anything, a place to grab a cup of coffee or a decent sandwich for lunch.
That’s where Heather Elkins comes in.
Ever since the Bean and Leaf Café owner took over the business seven years ago, the expansion of nearby Del Webb has brought in a steady stream of new residents looking for a new place to hang out, and that means new opportunities for Elkins to convert them into regular customers.
Most of the time she’s successful.
It’s not uncommon to get a phone call in the early evening from a Del Webb resident opting for salads and sandwiches for dinner because they don’t want to cook. The senior discount that she offers has been a huge hit, and several community organizations have solicited her catering services for Del Webb events over the course of the last year – whether it providing the meals for a real estate luncheon, the salads for a small private gathering or a variety of coffee and espresso drinks for people to try.
Seeing that kind of response, Elkins said, is refreshing, and knowing that new customers are likely going to be constant – the building is ongoing at Del Webb – makes her happy as a business owner.
“We’re getting new people in here all the time – sometimes they’re from out of town and they’ve just moved here or they’re here visiting family and they’re just stopping in and getting coffee or lunch,” she said. “And what we hope for is to see them again. We’ve been out there a few times recently, and it’s great to see the same people from Del Webb coming back.”
The senior community, which originated in Sun City Arizona, is unique in the sense that it touts itself as a place for “active” adults – offering lap pools, bocce ball courts, softball, tennis and even a putting golf course. Those that move into the community from outside of the area often have disposable income, which is great for people like Elkins who rely on new customers to take a liking to her unique, independent coffee shop when a widely-known coffee chain is literally a stone’s throw away.
For business owners like Elkins, disposable income among neighbors is a good thing.
“We want to give people the best experience possible,” she said. “We get new people every month. Del Webb plays a big part in that.”
The Bean and Leaf Café – located at 1254 W. Lathrop Road in the Raley’s Shopping Center – is open Monday through Friday from 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information visit www.facebook.com/beanandleafcafemanteca or call 209.239.2326.