Jersey City’s coffee market is piping hot, at least according to a Rent.com list ranking it as the only New Jersey city among the 50 best for coffee.
Jersey City ranked No. 14 on the list, three spots above nearby New York and seven spots above Philadelphia. Rent.com found that 50.79% of coffee shops in town were local spots rather than chains and that the town has 2.13 local coffee businesses per square mile of land area.
Hidden Grounds co-owner Anand Patel said he wasn’t surprised by Jersey City’s ranking. From his experience, running a business in the city “is incredible,” he said.
“One of the factors the general public may not have a lot of transparency into is just the relationship we have with the city itself. There are a lot of local ordinances and laws we have to be mindful of, and Jersey City is one of those cities where it is extremely conducive to ‘OK, what does it take for a small business to be successful in this city?’ It seems like a lot of the interactions are intended to promote [that as a] primary goal. It shows in the little things, whether it’s allowing us to put a signage outside … the efficiency they operate as a city is higher than say, New Brunswick or even Hoboken,” Patel said.
Hidden Grounds has locations in all three cities.
The second reason it’s a great place to run a coffee shop, Patel said, is that wherever someone is in Jersey City, supporting local business seems to rank high in importance.
“There’s this general idea that we’re going to support each other from a community standpoint, whether you’re in the Heights area, or the downtown area. There seems to be this collective understanding that you have to support local, and to go out of the way to support local,” Patel said. “And then frankly, the third reason is that because a lot of people are attracted to Jersey City, it’s a lot easier for small businesses to find good people to work with. We’ve had very limited problems in terms of hiring good people to work for us. Jersey City just seems to be hitting it at the right spot.”
Mayor Steven Fulop told NJBIZ that the city’s non-corporate coffee shops – there are at least two dozen, per the Hoboken Girl Jersey City coffee guide – represent more than just a good cup of joe.
“They are small business owners who also live in Jersey City and are invested in the community. As an administration, we’ve worked to provide the support and resources our small businesses need to grow and thrive, resulting in unprecedented business growth citywide. So, to be named one of the best cities in the nation for our local coffee shops is a great credit to those shop owners and to all of our hardworking small businesses,” he said.
To form the list, published Oct. 21, Rent.com looked at the 150 most populated cities in the country by U.S. Census Bureau numbers, and then at the total number of coffee-related business establishments such as coffee shops, mobile coffee businesses and roasters. The website then ranked each city evenly by the number of local non-chain businesses per square mile and the percentage of all coffee businesses in the city that are non-chains. Perhaps not surprisingly, Seattle topped the list.
Rent.com released a companion list of the top 10 worst cities for coffee. No Northeast cities made the list.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7:50 a.m. EST on Oct. 28, 2021, to include remarks from Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.