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      • Are you geared up for Galentine’s Day in your coffee shop?

      • No, that’s not a typo. And it’s something we’re embarrassed to admit we weren’t aware of until very recently, which is why it doesn’t (yet) feature on our marketing calendar for coffee shops. Galentine’s Day takes place on the 13th February. It was inspired by a fictional character in a US sitcom, as the antidote to Valentine’s Day. Because for all those people in new or long-term relationships, there are masses more who think the whole thing is bunkum and a bit of a kick in the teeth. Of course, the ‘gal’ element is all about girls, and celebrating independence, friendship and mutual support in a largely male-dominated world. Up and down the UK, Galentine events are taking place in restaurants, coffee shops and elsewhere. It’s a great excuse for girls to get together. And, because you always have to be thinking about marketing your coffee shop, sandwich bar or restaurant, a great excuse to step up your marketing. It’s not too late to hit Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #galentines and #galentinesday and let your local community know that yours is the ideal venue for a get-together.

        Because while you’d be silly not to use Valentine’s Day as a marketing opportunity, the truth is that, for some, it’s just another day which makes some people feel their aloneness – and loneliness – all the more keenly. We all know that loneliness is on the rise. That there are more people living alone than ever – of all ages – and that making new friends can be difficult and daunting. Most of us keep those feelings and that fear to ourselves, understandably, but that compounds the issue. Once in a while, a good-news story emerges from a sad place, where someone who’s been on their own takes the courageous leap to advertise that fact – usually on Facebook, by forming a group - to call on other people who feel the same way to join them. It’s a wonderful thing. And to really break away from that spiral of solitude, they need a place to meet.

        Your place, perhaps. Why not? You’ve got a coffee machine cranking out top-notch coffee, served with warmth and character, right? You’ve got comfortable seats and an open door, heat and comfort and space. Publicising your venue as a place to hold community meet-ups is just common sense, especially if your local passing footfall has a lot of ebb and flow. Promoting your coffee shop or restaurant as a place to go for really positive reasons – like Galentine’s Day or for social events to combat loneliness can make a real difference. For your turnover, but more importantly for people’s wellbeing and mental health. Local Facebook groups, Twitter and Instagram are all free and easy ways to highlight your positive action, of course, but you’ll probably find that even your local paper would love to cover such a good news story.

        So, while we still recommend perfecting those latte-poured hearts in your coffee – with a Cupid’s arrow if you’ve got the barista skills – for Valentine’s Day, don’t let that be your only focus. If you’re thinking of a nifty two-for-one offer on coffees for the 14th February, why not include the 13th too? Hold off on the garish heart-shaped offers in the window and make your promotions about quality time in good company with great coffee.