New Capital One Café Open in South Lake Union – 333 Westlake Avenue N.
Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this post! This is a paid endorsement. All opinions are my own and were not directed by Capital One. To learn more about Capital One, visit www.capitalone.com/cafes OR www.capitalone.com/bankingreimagined
According to an American Psychological Association survey, 72 percent of Americans say they’ve felt stressed about money at some point in the last month, with as many as 50 percent so stressed out they admitted to not being able to sleep.
Understanding consumers’ increasing anxiety around having control of their personal finances, Capital One is leading an effort to redesign the banking experience and inspire a new era of confidence when it comes to people’s relationship with their money.
One tactic they are using to help consumers experience less stress and more confidence around their money is creating the Capital One Cafe experience. I was fortunate enough to attend the grand opening in Seattle on January 19th of their first café in the area (Bellevue will be opening soon).
When I arrived, the entire side of the space was opened, garage-door style. and people were hanging out with their doggies, sort of like the most awesome inter-species cocktail party ever (or coffee-tail party, since, no booze). Peet’s Coffee had its own permanent space in the back, so you can grab some quality coffee and pastry (Capital One sources locally, so you can also grab some yummies from Fuji Bakery as well).
The vibe is definitely more modern hangout than any other money-oriented place I have ever gone – and that is what Capital One is going for. Since people have so much stress around money, Capital One wants to create a space for you to chill. You don’t even need to BANK at Capital One to come in, hang out, play around and visit. You also don’t even need to speak to anyone official, or check in…just come hang out.
“Our cafes are designed as places for our customers and community to collaborate, learn about new ways to manage their finances or simply relax with a great cup of coffee,” said Sunjay Pandey, Capital One’s Seattle site lead and Vice President of Digital Product, Design and Data Science for Capital One Investing.
These Cafés have been open for a while in other cities. The personal connection and community is real. People who meet at the Café become friends and expect to see each other when they stop in–they even do stuff together away from the café. In San Francisco, a couple who met at the Capital One Café got engaged! I don’t know if Capital One can break through our patented Seattle “freeze” but with plenty of comfortable seating, a kazillion plug-ins for your laptops and tablets, private “nooks” for talking and awesome coffee and pastries, I think there is more than enough incentive to give it a shot.
Another cool thing Capital One Cafés do is provide space to nonprofits. There are nooks, private conference rooms as well as training spaces over two floors at the Café, and the space is completely available for nonprofits to meet. Very impressive.
Imagine your visit: After taking in the scene, checking your email, saying hello to some buddies and grabbing your coffee – maybe you feel like checking out some money stuff? If you do, you can start with one of their “explorer” screens (either privately on a tablet or using one of the wall units) and start to clarify some of your goals and priorities around money through their interactive screens and games.
Exploring on your own for a bit MIGHT inspire you to take another step and chat up their resident Money Coach, Nicole Aloni. She’ll be hanging out there during her office hours to answer questions, but the best way to get her to yourself is to book an appointment (online scheduling makes it easy).
Or maybe one-on-one isn’t your thing? No worries, the Capital One Café will be offering a bunch of events – lots of events simply to connect people to people without any sort of money agenda whatsoever… but they will also host Money Workshops and other educational group meetings, based on demand.
If you DON’T want to chat about money? No problem…come for the coffee and company. Bring your dog.
For now, the hours are 8 am to 7 pm Mondays through Fridays, and 9 am to 5 pm on the weekends. As an introvert, I can easily see myself holing up there and working – as a financial planner, I am super excited about this opportunity to collaborate with Capital One Cafés to help people feel better about their money.