Could Our Morning Coffee Routines Be Changed Forever?

A small-town shop changes the game.

There are few things more sacred to us than our morning coffee routine — and that's not just because it's a means of survival. Like many, we have our go-to spots be it Starbucks, a local espresso bar, or the corner bodega. And even if the net cost of our daily coffee is eye watering, we're willing to pay up.

But no matter where we go to get our caffeine fix, they run a drastically different ship compared to The Vault in Valley City, North Dakota. This summer, the small-town coffee shop has been garnering national attention for instating an honor system.

According to their site, after customers help themselves to coffee and baked goods, they can swipe their credit card or drop cash into a slot. There are no employees, just prices listed next to the items.

This out-of-the-box method of management has not only lowered the shop's cost of doing business, but boosted their profits by 15%. And if waiting on line at Starbucks on a weekday morning has taught us anything, it is likely very time efficient.

As for acheiving exact change sans-register, there's a sign hanging in the shop that reads "round down and give yourself a break or round up and help us stay in business."

We have to admit, The Vault's story has piqued our interest as a way to save time, money, and encourage community, but as jaded New Yorkers, we can't imagine things running quite as smoothly in the mean city. But as prices for a cup of coffee continues to soar, we welcome businesses to consider the trust system, as it seems to have some real win-win potential. And it will be especially helpful on those days we press the snooze button one too many times.


Countertop, Cabinetry, Display case, Picture frame, Varnish, Wood stain, Cupboard, Collection, Barware, Drawer,

(Image credit: Archives)
Beauty Editor

Lauren Valenti is Vogue’s former senior beauty editor. Her work has also appeared on,, and in In Style. She graduated with a liberal arts degree from Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, with a concentration on Culture and Media Studies and a minor in Journalism.