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Beanie Boy

Caffeine kick, smart ads, blind games

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This story appears in the June 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

At the age of 29, Ramin Kamfar had everything he needed. Or so one would think. He had an MBA from Wharton and a job he loved--vice president at a large Wall Street banking firm. So why give up financial stability and security to open, of all things, a coffee store?

"What I saw happening in the coffee market was something that happens to a segment of the U.S. food service market every decade," says Kamfar, who dove into untested waters in 1993 when he left Wall Street to start New World Coffee. "[The coffee market] was going from mom and pop stores to being branded. I wanted to create an East Coast alternative to Starbucks. At the time, everyone said starting a coffee chain in New York wouldn't work."

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