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N.D. coffee shop operates on honor system

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (CNN) -- A North Dakota Coffee Shop is saving money on employee costs by not having any.

The Vault is like any other coffee shop in that it has coffee, tea, and pastries. The one thing it's missing: staff.

"At the time, I didn't realize how unique that was. I thought it just made sense, and I found out later by Googling there really isn't anything else like it," said David Brekke, co-owner/operator.

When David Brekke and his wife Kimberly opened the shop in October, they decided it was fitting to allow people to serve themselves and pay on the honor system. They haven't broke even yet, but it's not because people are stealing.

"The thing that's amazing is that people have been extremely honest. When I add up how much has been taken and how much is in the till at the end of the day, people are 15 percent more generous than thieving," Brekke said.

"It's really very convenient to use. I hope that they financially make it, but most people in town I think are pretty honest," said customer Madeline Luke.

And there's plenty else to draw people in: two pianos, artwork for sale, and a whole lot of books.

"It's a great place to sit where it's quiet and read, and little by little there are more and more people coming in all the time," said customer LeRoy Triebold.

Brekke spent three-and-a-half years converting the former bank.

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