New business brewing in Hamlin Park as Talk Coffee prepares to open its doors

By Jesse Prieto
News Editor

This past Tuesday local attorney, Canisius graduate, and businessman Karl Myles proudly stood in front of the soon-to-open Talk Coffee. Located on the corner of E. Delavan Ave. and Meech St., the cafe offers a distinct atmosphere for study and conversation within walking distance of the College.

Kevin Myles stands at the threshold of the soon-to-be-open Talk Coffee. Photo by Jesse PR Prieto

Kevin Myles stands at the threshold of the soon-to-be-open Talk Coffee. Photo by Jesse PR Prieto

It is no secret that the student population relies on coffee, offering a burst of energy to jumpstart an early morning and later keep the candle burning into the wee hours of the night. To this, members of the Canisius College community are no exception; a fact exemplified by the forty-some students lined up at the Tim Hortons register between class periods (upperclassmen may recall when administration was forced to put a door in the wall behind Tim Hortons during Library renovations because the line stretched beyond the often overlooked, historic Newgate Prison Door gifted in 1979).

Taking into account basic economics, the proprietor of this new business recognizes the community’s demand and looks to supply Hamlin Park with coffee, Wi-Fi, and study space in an off-campus setting.

Aside from standard furnishings found in the quintessential Buffalo café, Talk Coffee’s hardwood floors, fresh white walls, and tastefully ironic gold painted ceiling give what can only be described as an all-college vibe.

After having “spent thousands of hours in coffee shops during law school”, the atmosphere and productivity triggered a desire to open up a café he could call his own. Myles later returned to the subject of law school, pointing at an empty wall where he plans to frame his New York State Bar Admittance Letter as an encouragement to patrons to work hard. In his words, “We are all working for something.”

With an estimated three weeks until opening, bare walls and intentionally simple decor made the Canisius symbols all the more prominent. Brandishing his Class of ‘92 ring, Myles gestured towards his vintage Canisius pennant and 

Sigma Phi Epsilon (colloquially known as SigEp) flag that hung down the wall. As if this weren’t enough to tip off a strong alumni connection, the custom made iron table showcasing the head of the College’s golden griffin sat centerfold in the middle room. A gift to him from the Eberl family, of Eberl Iron Works, Myles explained how they have always been huge supporters of the College.

As far as quality, Myles was very upfront about his goals for Talk Coffee. “It’s not about right now, it’s about 10 years from now.” As he continued to say, his take on business success in Buffalo is reputation. To him, customers are doing him a favor by coming in and buying a coffee, not the other way around.

Recounting his experience at an unspecified “burger joint” in Elmwood village where he paid $14 for his meal, as he continued to explain, his dissatisfaction wasn’t with what he considered an overpriced meal. Rather, it was with the service and atmosphere. “They never thanked me and the girl working there could care less about the product she was selling or how I felt about it.” After several other examples characterizing the same experience, he said “They don’t even realize they’ve lost … People in Buffalo talk, and when you insult one person in Buffalo you’ve insulted 45 people, 90 people, [maybe even] 100.”

Focusing on what he calls “fundamentals”, Myles looks to combine quality with fair pricing by listening to what the customer wants. “I’m not doing you a favor,” he said, “when you come in here you’re helping me out. I’m grateful.” The business model is slow growth, looking towards the future while building a strong client base.

Talk Coffee’s target audience is the Canisius community. Myles was overt when explaining why the College means so much to him 24 years after graduation. He spoke of long lasting friendships and good memories. Moreover, in his words, “My only real opportunity to go to college right out of high school was given to me by Canisius [through] a program called, I believe, the Quest Program created by the beloved Father Edmund Ryan.”

As suggested by the single dollar sign on the company’s facebook page, Talk Coffee’s business model is to assure affordability. “My goal is not to price things down only to meet the student market, it is to price things down because others are just charging too much.”

Marketed as a relaxed space for work and study, Karl Myles looks to open up Talk Coffee within 30 days. It should also be mentioned that he expects to keep the cafe open 24 hours a day during finals week at Canisius College.

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