Dave Kelley is one of those hard-working and scrappy entrepreneurs.
At one time he was a contractor, though he found it difficult to find workers who could keep up with him.
Later, Kelly, 54, had a mowing business that took him all over Roanoke and Roanoke County. Last summer he got into ice cream.
He opened Crazy Dave’s Ice Cream on U.S. 220 in Daleville. He sold that store before the summer was out and reinvested the proceeds in a coffee shop on Brambleton Avenue, the former Mojo Cafe.
It’s now known as Dave’s Coffee Time, and it’s across the street and down just a bit from The Coffee Pot. The shop opened in September.
Before he got in the coffee business, though, Kelly did a bit of research.
“The first three things I learned were, one, you want a drive-through; two, you want a drive-through and three, you want a drive-through,” Kelly told me.
Drive-through sales can easily account for 40 to 60 percent of a coffee shop’s business, he said.
Brambeton Avenue is a busy artery from Southwest County into the city. Thousands of cars drive on it every day.
So Kelly reasoned: “I’d better make sure I can have a drive-through before I put any money in this.”
So he called the city to find out if the zoning would allow it. He says he was told it did.
“No problem,” he says they told him. “But you have to have an engineer draw up plans.”
So he hired an engineering company.
“Then they called down there [to city hall] and the city said, ‘Yes, it’s zoned for a drive through.”
So the engineering company drew up plans and submitted them.
Meanwhile, Kelly signed a lease for the location with his landlord, and then invested $40,000 of his own money into materials for renovations and equipment.
A couple weeks went by then the engineering company gave him a call.
“They said, ‘You’ve got a problem. It’s not zoned for a drive through,’ ” Kelly said.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ Kelly said.
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