Internet Cafés Allow You to Get Online for a Quarter

Business owner Tricia Simmons stands in front of the lines of computers at T’s Internet Café.

By Amy Claire

In difficult economic times, people cut back. Often, one of the first things to go is the perceived luxury of Internet service. Unfortunately, with job applications, bill payments and loan information primarily available online, the lack of a computer cripples many attempts to recover from financial trouble.

Local business owner Tricia Simmons experienced this first-hand. “I couldn’t even look for a job without going to my best friend’s house,” she remembers. “We live in a world where the Internet is everything.”

After realizing that she was not the only person in her situation, she decided to open a store to provide computer time for people without home Internet. Her business, T’s Internet Café, started with a single machine in a single room, but grew to include seventy computers in a spacious, colorfully decorated business suite. When the computers started filling up and customers had to wait, Simmons opened Cot on the Web, a second location with twenty-five computers.

At the two stores, computer time costs 25 cents per minute, though purchased time comes with a chance to play a sweepstakes to win more time. The sweepstakes brings the charge down to about $5 per half hour. Copying, printing and faxing are available for a small fee. Cot on the Web has a private room that can be used for filling out sensitive information or attending online job interviews. Headphones and webcams are provided, allowing customers to chat with friends and family over Skype. Friendly employees are available to teach simple computer tasks, such as how to set up an email account.

“I feel that I’m helping the community,” said Simmons, who uses local vendors for most of her business needs. Her stores provide safe places for computerless individuals to search for jobs, apply for unemployment, sign up for rehab and file taxes. T’s Internet Café is open twenty-four hours a day to accommodate all work schedules, and security guards maintain customer safety. Simmons doesn’t allow any guests under the age of eighteen so that minors can’t use her stores to break their parents’ Internet rules, though she does give a fifty percent discount to college students who use the computers to complete schoolwork.

T’s Internet Café and Cot on the Web cater to more than business needs. Many people use the computers to check Facebook or watch videos on Youtube. Simmons is also exploring the possibility of hosting computer gaming parties.

“I’ve had a lot of help. I’ve been lucky,” she said. “I have an amazing staff.” She attributes her success to the support of the people around her, and to her persistent drive to succeed. “I didn’t think failing was an option. It was going to work one way or another.”

T’s Internet Café is located at 1908 A Street in Antioch, open 24 hours a day. Call 925-522-0801. Cot on the Web is located at 2333 Buchanan Street, Suite A, in Antioch, open from 11 am to 6 am. Call 925-778-7002.

the attachments to this post:

T’s Internet Cafe

No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply