Crazy Mocha Coffee Company is a coffeehouse chain in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region. As of February 2013, there were 29 locations, with 2 more planned. It is owned by Ken Zeff.
When possible, Crazy Mocha uses local contractors for construction and avoids opening near other independent coffee shops.
Each location has its own vibe, often themed along with the neighborhood. The Shadyside location matches the art-conscious neighborhood, South Side location has a faux-iron canopy hanging over the tables in honor of the area's industrial past, and the location at the SouthSide Works is based off a trendy Brooklyn cafe. The Bloomfield location teamed up with The Dreaming Ant, an independent video rental store.
Unlike major chain coffee shops, Crazy Mocha permits customers expansive use of the Wi-Fi system.
The Sewickley location had been lenient toward dog lovers who wished to bring their pets to the shop, at least until arousing the attention of the Allegheny County Health Department.
Crazy Mocha has been an early newcomer to urban rehabilitation in Lawrenceville and the North Side.
The 2010 opening of the North Side location was hailed as the cornerstone of a redevelopment effort in that neighborhood. The location, in renovated building, boasted arched windows and exposed brick walls. The building was acquired by developers for $16,000 and required $142,500 in repairs and renovations.
The original store was the Dancing Goats coffee shop on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The shop had been named after the apocryphal legend of the dancing goat that heralded the beginning of coffee. It was purchased in 2000 by Ken Zeff, a merchandise buyer for J.C. Penney and native resident of Greenfield.
The owner of the coffee chain, Zeff, doesn't drink coffee, saying "It’s actually been a good thing. I’m not buying what I like. I’m not influenced by that. I buy what the customers like."
As of 2003, the Crazy Mocha chain had growth to 3 locations. During 2004, the operation had doubled to 6 locations and 25 employees. The rapid pace of expansion raised questions among observers about whether the growth was sustainable. By 2008, the 21 locations required over 100 employees.
In 2007, Zeff opened a store at PPG Place near to an existing Starbucks. The new location was to fill the void left by the closure of La Prima Espresso Company. Other downtown locations were developed to improve brand awareness. In 2009, the downtown flagship store was opened on Liberty Avenue in the Cultural District.
In 2009, the expansion into Cranberry marked the first time the store had gone beyond City of Pittsburgh limits into the suburbs. That location was a direct challenge to nearby Starbucks locations had generated $1 million per year.
Crazy Mocha was profiled by the Pittsburgh Business Times to highlight retail stores' issues with the 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit.