Small Business Spotlight: Kumbha-Yah Café and EV Market Place
Travelers on Gender Road in Canal Winchester can’t help but notice the shiny new Shell station that just opened in their neighborhood. However, Kumbha-Yah Café and EV Market Place is more than a gas station. In fact, it’s full of all kinds of surprises and conveniences for the weary traveler as well as for neighborhood residents seeking a place to gather.
Owner Srini Kumbha recently gave VCNB a tour of his new business that was years in the making. He and his wife Denise are pleased to welcome friends and strangers alike to this place they hope will become a home away from home for anyone that needs it.
“Our faith is strong and we live our faith by treating people the way we want to be treated. That’s why it was important to us to give people a gathering place. We want them to feel like this is their second home, whether they are minutes or hours from home,” Srini said. “I look forward to Saturday morning conversations where people can talk with neighbors and make new friends.”
Step inside the building to find a friendly, smiling person behind the counter. Turn to the right to find traditional convenience store items as well as some unexpected things too. “We want to keep things that might help the neighbors. Things like milk and bread that might be more convenient here than going down the street to a grocery store.”
They have everything from dog biscuits to Hershey Syrup to all manner of packaged snacks and seemingly everything in between. Plus, there’s a large selection in the beer cave and ice-cold non-alcoholic beverages to suit a variety of tastes.
The other half of the building provides an entirely different experience. An extensive menu of food items includes 16” pizzas, broasted chicken, mozzarella cheese sticks, donuts and more. A variety of coffees, espresso, smoothies, fountain drinks and ten flavors of slushies may make it hard to decide what’s to drink today. They recently began offering donuts from Donut World in Lancaster.
There’s even a drive-thru for customers in a rush.
For those who wish to stay and mingle, tables and a high top counter with barstools offer seating. The counter is equipped with charging outlets and looks out on the street providing a practical place to work, dine or socialize.
Srini, an IT consultant by trade for the last 23 years, clearly put significant thought and planning into this new venture. In fact, from the color scheme to state-of-the-art technology, attention to detail is evident. Sleek new kiosks make ordering quick and easy. Customers can pay at the kiosk or see the cashier to pay. Both in the kitchen and behind the coffee bar, everything is designed for efficiency, quality and ease of use. “We want customers to have a good experience but we also want our employees to feel good about their work. The best equipment, the right design of things, makes the job more pleasant.”
Even though this is their first time owning a business of this type, Srini and Denise learned a good bit through study during the planning process. They spent months visiting a variety of gas stations. He also did a short stint at a chain coffee shop and several months working for a gas station to learn the ropes. This allowed them to understand how processes, equipment, menus and management can impact the customer experience as well as employees.
In all, it was a six year process that began with the purchase of the land and included a traffic study and even a ballot issue to allow the store to sell alcohol. “It has been a process but I believe it will be worth it in the end. We look forward to meeting more of our neighbors and to finding ways to offer new things in our community,” he explained.
Kroger customers will be pleased to know that they accept Kroger fuel points.
Find Kumbha-Yah Café and EV Store online. Better yet, stop by 4984-4986 Gender Road in Canal Winchester. Employees will be pleased to meet you and to serve you some delicious food from their menu.