Black Rock Coffee Bar

Competition to sell caffeine in Salem continues to be competitive. When Black Rock Coffee Bar on Lancaster near Toys R Us opened, people went nuts. Remember that? People lined up to grab a cup of joe from break dancing baristas all caught on camera. I've always wondered if that enthusiasm for their beverages was genuine. It also had me thinking about how much effort it takes to attract new customers. Their marketing tactics, including youtube videos and a high profile storefront on Salem's most congested avenue, has helped put the coffee maker on my map. But what got me to give them some cash in exchange for a sip of their product was a wait in front of the nearby Toy's R Us.(Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to make that "R" go backward) With about twenty minutes of wait time and two bucks in my pocket, I decided to drive through the drive thru. I was the only car pulling up to the window so I was greeted immediately by a solo barista in the large kitchen. Large for coffee stand standards. I ordered a small coffee for $1.50 and was pleased to see that they made it from the espresso machine like an Americano. The liquid in the lidded, dual cup coffee was burning hot. I'm surprised this thing wasn't bubbling. I set it into the cup holder and made my way to the exit only to find myself blocked in by toy traffic making a left turn on Lancaster. The line of cars greedily jockeyed into position holding me back from turning left into the TRU parking lot. They must have thought I was going to edge them out and be on the road before them or they just don't like Black Rock customers. Eventually, a kind citizen allowed me to pass in front of them and into a safe place to park and put my lips on this scalding beverage. The coffee was excellent, much better then the cup they serve at a well known competitor down the street. Although I don't find myself in that area of town thirsty for coffee, next time I am, I'll remember this place. I guess that's how that marketing blitz works. Sometimes they have to make a really loud noise just to get people's attention. Then one day when people have a few minutes to spare and a couple of coins in their pocket they may end up with a cup of coffee in their hand.

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