Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cherries internet cafe

I spotted a new business on Market Square the other day and stopped in this morning to check it out. Cherries Internet Cafe is tucked underneath the Chamber of Commerce at No. 17.

Internet Cafe? It sounded kinda 90s to me. In a world of laptops and smartphones, do we need a dedicated place to connect to the vast interweb? I went in and was pleasantly surprised. This is what i saw:

Is that a television studio?! And the kiosks look more like bar booths with screens. The interior design is pretty slick, in my opinion a must if you want to become a destination spot for downtowners. So far, better than expected.

I introduced myself to Jessie, the Technology Manager there. She led me around and explained the many things Cherries is trying to do. The key word I think is "Community." They want to bring people together digitally and in real life. By having a presence on the internet and a real life location, Cherries could become the physical hub for what already happening digitally in the blogosphere, forums, ect.

They plan to have a "Tea Bar" in the front, providing an alternative to all the coffee shops in downtown. The Lunchbox will be providing food for sale at lunchtime. Each booth has dedicated headphones, iPod/iPhone chargers, keyboard, and adjustable screen. Importantly, I want to point out, the booths seat four people, as in "have fun doing digital stuff together, not isolate yourself a gaming world" kind of attitude. You can bring in your laptop for free wi-fi too, if you want.

But what's up with that glass studio? Cherries is also a multimedia company, and streams programs generated in the cafe itself out to the internets. Think of it as public cable access in the digital era. Anybody can sign up and make a program (subject to quality control from Cherries) and have access to professional equipment and facilities (for a fee, of course). The current set of shows are just starting out (and are a bit bourgeois in taste) but the idea is sound. As word spreads, a more diverse set of voices and aesthetics should emerge. Hopefully a Knox version of Wayne's World will hit the interweb soon.

So go check it out. They're slated to officially open on the 25th, and the "Daisy Pot Tea Bar" will start going next month.


The Modern Gal said...

I just got a postcard in the mail today about the grand opening. They're having a ribbon cutting at 10:30 (I'm assuming a.m., but it doesn't say). They'll be doing "The Original Cherries Lifestyle Web TV Show" immediately following.

I'm curious about this business to say the least.

Mickey said...

I had the same reaction about the possibilities for an internet cafe. Everyone I know who would go to such a place already has a laptop.

That last bit about the multimedia productions is intriguing, though.

Anonymous said...

There truly is a lot to offer beyond just the internet cafe element of the cafe. If you have a laptop, bring it in and have some tea, watch a show, participate in our live broadcasts or eat lunch at The Lunchbox. We hope to see you there!

B said...

i really like the community aspect. that's pretty cool. hopefully it will be a success.

Lisanne624 said...

Also, this could be really useful for out-of-towners who need to get online. I know when I'm in London, EasyEverything is my main base! Then again, let's hope there is enough publicity so visitors (and KTowners alike) can find it!

Anonymous said...

Update: http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/harrington/2008/11/lien_filed_against_cherries_in.html

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