0

Coffee shop + copy shop = GIP Computer Cafe

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

LaTashae Walker has taken two ideas, two simple, successful business models, and put them together.

"We have combined Kinko's with Starbucks," Walker said. "We've got a coffee shop, and a copy shop. When I tell people that, they say, 'Why hasn't anyone come up with this concept before?'"

Walker stood in her newly opened business, GIP Computer Cafe, at 6550 Mt. Zion Boulevard, Friday afternoon, and considered the question.

Half the place is painted teal blue, the other half a deep brown, and the late-afternoon light poured in on Friday, bathing IKEA tables in sunshine and giving the wood floors a warm glow. Instrumental music was playing, and as one customer worked on a laptop, drafting a contract for her as-yet unopened business, the fax machine beeped and spat out a piece of paper.

"Maybe people were afraid the one side would interfere with the other," Walker said. "But, well, I've just opened, but I haven't found that to be a problem."

Walker offers free wireless Internet, coffee and pastries, and also offers packaging, shipping, copies, faxes, notarizing and computer access.

A Stockbridge woman, Walker who once taught middle school, was working as business consultant when she realized she spent all her time at copy shops and coffee shops. Why not, she asked herself, combine the two types of shops.

In August, Walker did just that.

As far as she can tell, there's nothing like her business in Georgia, though she believes there are similar businesses in New York City and in China.

She still runs her consulting business management firm -- Gopher It Production (GIP) -- but now she has her clients come to Morrow, she said. She offers tutoring, for school children, resume-building for job hunters, and project presentations for professionals. All day long, she's working to help people grow personally and professionally, to "help people to become successful with their endeavors."

Walker feels she's able, with this business, to use her talents as a teacher and as a businesswoman.

"I don't want either experience to go to waste," Walker said. "I asked myself, how do I utilize all my different skills, and I've just put it all in one place."