By Ezinne Mgbeahuruike, Contributor
When you walk into a coffee shop, it’s usually for a quick coffee or work session, but Regular Visitors in New York City has combined both concepts into one and much more. Located in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood, the one-stop hub serves as the local coffee shop, newsstand, stationer, pharmacy, and houseware store.
Daniel Sorg, co-founder of Regular Visitors, was born and raised in Metuchen, New Jersey and studied film, radio, and television in college. Prior to creating Regular Visitors, Daniel ran small pop-ups at retailers, including Burberry.
Daniel sat down with us to share more about the booming retail world and how Regular Visitors is making a name for itself in the industry.
What inspired the store and the concept?
I was working for Izola, Inc., which is a wholesale store for men’s gifts for some time, and I felt the need to be more client facing and interact with the consumers on the day-to-day. I love working with others in a close-knit environment so I started leaning into e-commerce. That notion led me into starting a store. The name of the store came up before the concept, so it became the genesis of it all. I also wanted something that catered to the location, which took time to figure out, but in essence it all sorted itself out.
What was it like when you first opened Regular Visitors?
Honestly, it was a bit hectic because it was the week of the [2016 presidential] election. There were so many emotions running through me. Watching the nation take a different turn created a certain energy for the store, which propelled us to move forward. Everything worked out eventually. It was very much a tough start, but it propelled us to do a better job and prioritize what needed to happen next.
How do you source your products?
It’s a combination of many things like Instagram, trade shows, recommendations from friends, as well as customers. I like to look at the store as a shared space where everyone has value, which I think has made the store what it is today.
What is the priority when sourcing products?
I care that the product is quality. Origins is also important because it implies that the product is rare and has a high chance of being good quality.
What are the challenges of running a business?
I think the biggest one is finding balance. It’s really easy to let the pressures of running a small business get the best of you. It affects your sleep, your relationships, and eventually it will change you, so it’s important to make sure you’re staying focused as much as you do your business as you do yourself. Self-care is incredibly important and you need to emphasize it as much as the rest.
What keeps you going when you’re not at the store?
I like food, so cooking is a big part of my lifestyle. I go out for drinks with friends when I’m feeling social. I like to play basketball to clear my mind. I try to keep it simple.
What advice would you give to anyone opening up a store/business?
You have to partner with the right people and have a team that’s loyal to you. Providing a sense of ownership is also key because people want to feel like they’re part of a greater good. One of the biggest challenges is having blind faith that everything will eventually work out. Sometimes it takes 18-20 months for the fruits of your labor to flourish, so being patient is also key. I will say the hardest part for me has been making time for myself. This is important because you don’t want to be wrapped up in work and be caught up in the day-to-day without having an outlet. The rest just follows suit as you do and move forward.