Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Starting a Library Coffee Shoppe

Since I have been talking so much about the bookstore model and my shift away from Dewey, I think it is only appropriate to talk about our new venture: the coffee shoppe.

The idea came up three years ago when I visited a colleague's school media center.  She was selling kids coffees and drinks left and right.   I talked with my administrators and we thought doing something like this would be a great way to motivate students and get them into the media center.  It's sort of the Field of Dreams thought process, "If you build it, they will come."   After a lot of research and some conversations with other school media specialists who started a coffee shoppe, we began the process.

We started writing a few grants.  Our local youth philantrhopy group agreed to sponsor us because we were doing things to benefit our students.   We invited our functional skills class and our entrepreneurship class in to help us get the ball rolling.   With their support, we were able to get a grant to start the shoppe.  We bought a refrigerator and some coffee urns.   We opened in January of this year and business is booming.  Our vision is helping our school be better.

We  use the profits to buy materials and items for the media center.  Databases are expensive, I have a very limited budget.  I can use the coffee shoppe monies to buy some of the materials we need that the district can't afford to provide us.  I have already had a few teachers request materials that before, I would have to say no.  Now, I have a littlle bit of money available to use as a backup if something is needed.

Some of you are probably thinking, is this lady crazy?  How is this managed.  Easy, we are a small school.  We have only about 30 kids who regularly visit the coffee shoppe.  We started pre-measuring our powdered drinks so when kids come in, we just add water.  We have a coffee club card where kids get punches each purchase.  It works well. We are seeing success. I am seeing kids come to the media center that NEVER walked in the door before.  I can't complain.   It's for the kids, afterall, right?

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