Starbucks Coffee is being introduced to Fontbonne’s on-campus life. A coffee shop is currently in the works as a means to build a stronger community among students, faculty and staff. This idea’s inception began in the summer of 2015 when faculty members presented the Student Government Association (SGA) with a variety of concepts to bring to campus. Following a voting process, the option of bringing a coffee shop to campus was a strong favorite with members of SGA and the planning stages commenced.
Joe Deighton, Vice President of Student Affairs at Fontbonne, was interested in what the students thought would help build a better community at the university. “It’s really not about coffee to me, it’s more about building community,” explains Deighton.
Over the years, Fontbonne has made attempts to enrich its on-campus experience and once upon a time Starbucks Coffee was an experiment that did not go over so well.
Carla Hickman, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, was on faculty for the first attempt at adding Starbucks Coffee to campus life about ten years ago. Starbucks equipment was implemented in the Griffin Grill as an extension of the already existing structure. Hickman describes this first experiment as not being ideal. “The DSAC wasn’t necessarily the place for it. The hours weren’t conducive to people wanting coffee. It just wasn’t the right atmosphere for it.”
The new coffee vendor is to be in the Jack C. Taylor Library on the main level. Joe Deighton describes the reasoning behind this location as, “We wanted a location that was central and we wanted to reach all of the populations we have coming to our campus. In addition to students living on campus, we’re interested in reaching our adult students and commuter students who are on campus at night.”
Members of the student body appear to be intrigued at the prospect of having Starbucks Coffee served on campus. Sophomore Max Conner displays optimism despite being unaware of the project’s fruition until recently. “[This Starbucks] probably isn’t going to be good for my bank account because I already know I’m going to be going there a lot,” says Conner.
However, this spot will not be the only place on campus to get Starbucks coffee. According to Deighton, Starbucks’ “House Blend” will be available in Ryan Dining Hall as well as DSAC in place of the previous coffees offered there.
According to Deighton, the location will simply be advertised as a “Starbucks Proudly Served” on campus, with no plans for any external advertising. “The menu for drinks will be almost identical, the training will be identical and hopefully we’re going to try to create a feel that is somewhat close to a Starbucks,” Deighton describes.
The proposed coffee spot will be run by an employee of Aladdin Food Management, Fontbonne University food-partner, with additional help from university work-study students. Food Service Director Phil Hoover will be overseeing the operation once it is up and running. The new coffee spot will also feature food and snacks provided by Aladdin.
When it comes to the time table of when the coffee will start being served, well, things get a little more complicated. Deighton explains there are “a couple of obstacles yet to go” but assures that the institution is committed to doing this.
While the project has Fontbonne’s approval, it now hinges upon approval by the City of Clayton. Once approved by the City of Clayton, local contracting company KAI Design and Build will begin construction and estimates the process will take “10 to 12 weeks.” Deighton claims that while an opening date before the end of the fall semester would be ideal, an opening by the start of spring the semester would be more realistic.