Hannah Vanderhooft—Staff Writer
It’s an early Thursday morning as students walk through the campus green to their classes. Some deviate from the main sidewalk to stop by 55th Avenue, the coffee shop located in the lobby of Kuyper Apartments and managed by the Future Leaders and Missional Entrepreneurs club (F.L.A.M.E.). The coffee shop is now open Mon. though Thurs. mornings from 7:30-11:00 a.m. With the change in open hours, the club hopes to attract the morning traffic from Covenant Hall, Southview, and Kuyper Apartments.
Isaac Rohne, a junior business major and the managerial president of FLAME, said, “We were pushing for more membership in the club this year, because then we could staff more hours in the shops to hopefully bring in more sales.”
The sales from the coffee shops help fund trips for the students involved in FLAME. The club seeks to give students real life business experience through these trips.
“It’s been a slow start, but I’m hoping the colder weather will bring in more people in the morning,” Rohne said. “There will be a lot more students coming through here and I think a warm drink will be a good incentive to stop through Kuyper.”
In the winter months, it’s not uncommon for students on the east end of campus to “building hop” on their way to classes as they attempt to escape the subzero temperatures for a few seconds. 55th lies in the middle of that route—in the perfect spot to stop and warm up.
At 55th, students use Defender Dollars to purchase items. The club has seen a decrease in total sales since the campus bookstore began accepting Defender Dollars at the end of semesters a few years ago.
“A big question was how we could revive this place and make it into a hangout spot,” Rohne said. “We’re hoping to have more events and make it into more of a communal space rather than an intimidating space where seniors do homework.”
Prior to COVID-19, 55th regularly held events on the weekends: including open mics, stand-up comedy, and trivia. These events brought in a significant amount of revenue for the club. The club is in the process of planning weekend events in the next few weeks to draw in more students.
FLAME wants to give students a chance to get plugged in. The coffee shops on campus are a way that students across majors can work together and learn basic business skills, communication, and be involved in their campus community.
“I’m hoping that we can continue to keep 55th open in the mornings in the coming semesters to keep up student involvement,” Rohne said.