Galloway School senior Drew Evans had the idea back in the seventh grade. For a business class project, he proposed the school open its own coffee shop.
“I’m a fairly frequent coffee drinker,” he said. “My parents don’t drink it at all, and it was difficult for me to get coffee. I wanted it.”
He’s a senior now. And his seventh-grade plan for on-campus coffee has percolated into Galloway Grounds, a new, full-service coffee shop operated in the lobby of the school’s arts center. It’s a class project for students in Galloway’s economics classes.
Economics teacher Tracy Seligman says the idea was to give her students some practical experience in running a business.
“I think economics gets a bad rap sometimes because of the way it has been taught for generations,” Seligman said. “This way they see economics runs through all parts of their lives.”
When she mentioned the idea of a coffee shop to the school’s innovation director, she said, he remembered Drew’s seventh-grade project and put the two together. Soon, the coffee shop project was under way.
The school secured $40,000 in grants from SunTrust foundations to buy equipment, including a commercial espresso machine, and convert a corner of the arts center lobby into the small shop. They then brought in experts from a Roswell coffee shop to teach the students how to make coffee properly.
The Galloway coffee shop opened in September. Seligman plans for her economics students to make and sell lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolates and other coffee-shop favorites to fellow students three to four days a week. Profits, Seligman said, will be distributed to student-chosen charities.
Being able to get a cup of coffee without leaving campus seems to suit plenty of Galloway students just fine. Galloway Grounds won’t sell caffeinated products to students younger than high school age, but it has found its customer base. During lunchtime one recent Friday, a dozen students lined up for a midday espresso or cup of tea.
“I love it, honestly,” freshman Lilly King said. “It’s just more convenient and everyone likes coffee.”
Her classmate Helen McGaughy agreed. “It’s easy,” she said. “We can just have lunch right here and get coffee.”
And 10th grade Lawrence Nieves thought it was “really, really awesome to have to the ability to get coffee without having to leave [campus].”
Behind the counter, lunch-period barista Jake Goldwasser was practicing the coffee-making craft he said he first learned working at a small Midtown restaurant. But he was having a tough time transforming the foam on top of a cup of latte into the professional’s standard “leaf” design. “Ugh,” he said in disgust at one failed effort. “I’m getting there. I’ll be there by the end of lunch.”
Drew’s experience at Galloway Grounds is teaching him about managing people. Students from the class do a variety of jobs – making coffee, running the cash register, delivering cups of coffee to customers – and Drew has had the job of deciding who does which job.
“It’s definitely become a learning process for me, where I have to say ‘no’ to people,” he said. “It’s hard to say ‘no’ to your friends.”
So is it everything he expected? “I can’t remember my seventh-grade brain,” he said, “but I’m so proud of it. If anything, it has exceeded my expectations.”
And he and Seligman already are thinking about expanding the shop’s product line. Next up? Maybe smoothies.