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This profile was last updated on 5/2/15  and contains information from public web pages.

Board Member

Phone: (901) ***-****  HQ Phone
Midtown Memphis Development Corporation
1910 Madison Avenue # 87
Memphis , Tennessee 38104
United States

Company Description: Midtown Memphis Development Corporation (MMDC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit group with a mission to promote the economic development, cultural activities, recreational...   more

Employment History

14 Total References
Web References
Midtown Memphis Development Corporation, 2 May 2015 [cached]
Karen Lebovitz Owner, Otherlands Coffee Bar
Otherlands owner Karen ..., 26 Aug 2010 [cached]
Otherlands owner Karen Lebovitz favors the Revolutions plan, because it carries the bike traffic past Young Avenue, which will eventually connect to bike lanes on Southern Avenue. The city will install bike lanes on Southern in the next few weeks.
"We need to have continuity to connect business district to business district, park to park, and school to school," Lebovitz said.
Memphis Magazine -- Winner of more than 40 national awards -- Published by Contemporary Media, Inc., 26 Aug 2002 [cached]
According to Karen Lebovitz, owner of Otherlands Coffee and Gift Shop, located on Cooper between Central and Peabody, her shop has seen no real loss of business since Starbucks opened.Lebovitz admits, however, to being fearful when she first heard they were heading into town, "because it's never just one, there will be a lot of them.I'm just glad they didn't move in next door," she comments wryly.
Ironically, it was a former Starbucks employee who showed Lebovitz the ropes when she opened the shop in 1994."He was really into precision - the epitome of the Starbucks machine.We based our entire operation on that, and it's worked out really well.We still have three of our original employees working that were trained by him, so there's not much dilution of information," says Lebovitz.
But while she considers efficiency and great coffee important in Otherlands' success, what's paramount for Lebovitz is the relationship that she and her employees develop with their customers."It may sound corny but my concept for this place was to be like Cheers.Everyone will always have a place at my bar," she grins."Even my ex-boyfriend."
Lebovitz is definitely doing something right.In the past six years, Otherlands has generated quite the following.It could be that dogs are always welcome on the wisteria-covered patio, or perhaps it's the quality of the Caravali line of coffee, shipped in weekly from Seattle.But, more than not, it's the atmosphere that keeps people coming back.
"One of my biggest concerns was having the baristas [coffee bartenders] learn the customers' names and learn their drinks.They know pretty much all of the customers, and even if they don't, there will always be someone behind that cash register," she says, pointing, "who will acknowledge you and let you know you will be helped."
Some customers have suggested to Lebovitz that she put in a drive-thru window as well.Not gonna happen, she says.
"I think the drive-thru creates this concept that this is instant stuff," explains Lebovitz, "and it's not.It takes time to make espresso drinks, and then people end up getting angry at you because they are waiting."
"I think the biggest difference between [Starbucks] and us is all going to boil down to customer service and consistency," she says.
So for now, it seems no one has gotten their caffeinated feathers ruffled.But what if all of that changes?Is there a chance that the big guys will squeeze out the competition?
"I really don't think so," says the Deliberate Literate's Curtis."But we have plans to open a wine bar and extend the menu from just bagels and sandwiches to complement that.
Lebovitz agrees."I've always said that competition is a good thing.It really makes you keep your nails polished."
So for now, the "coffee wars" seem to be on ice.They could, however, be whipped back into a frothy frenzy if, as expected, Starbucks begin to sprout like weeds along Poplar, Germantown Parkway, Front Street, and other Memphis-area byways.
Otherlands Coffee Bar, 18 Feb 2015 [cached]
Karen Lebovitz -
Karen Lebovitz of ... [cached]
Karen Lebovitz of Otherlands Coffee Bar said she chose to be a CYCA membership sponsor because she believes in the community and feels that CY is "a cool place to live, work, and play.
Karen is excited about some of the events happening at Otherlands this month and next month.
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