Early morning classes might just be a little easier to handle for Emporia State University students and faculty.
ESU celebrated the grand opening of its new, full-service licensed Starbucks, located on the east end of the Memorial Union, with a ribbon-cutting and free samples Tuesday morning.
The store is a gift to the university from Sodexo, which has the campus food service contract.
“This is a partnership and with our feedback from our campus community, looking at what we could do next through surveys, focus groups and other things of that nature, Starbucks is one of the top brands that they identified as something they would enjoy on campus,” Sodexo General Manager Myron Bridges said. “With that in mind, we started talking with Starbucks about how we could make that happen, and talking with the campus team.”
While ESU already offered some Starbucks products in the Buzzcotti coffee shop, they could not provide a full menu. The new location will accept Starbucks gift cards, something that the Buzzcotti store was also unable to do.
Bridges said discussions about bringing a full-service Starbucks to ESU began about two years ago and the official announcement was made earlier this year.
The store has employed 18 ESU students, who underwent two weeks of training prior to the opening.
“They’re all excited to be here,” Bridges said. “There’s a feeling that they belong in Starbucks.”
Student employees weren’t the only ones feeling the excitement over the new store.
Alex Reid, a senior elementary education major, was the first customer of the day at 6 a.m. Tuesday
“I watched them unlock the Memorial Union this morning,” Reid said. “Starbucks is my absolute fave, so I’m very excited. I’m in love with their Teavana drinks, so to finally be able to get those here and the holiday drinks, is amazing.”
Reid said he was particularly excited because he was able to use his meal plan toward purchases in the on-campus Starbucks.
Freshmen Rosa Blaske and Beth Steinlage were also happy to see the store finally open after months of anticipation.
“I’m definitely going to be visiting a lot because it’s got the full menu and I can order a lot more drinks,” Blaske said. “They had a ‘coming soon’ sign when we moved in, but there was no date saying when they were opening. It was a waiting game, because you could see them working in here but it was like, ‘Oh, when’s it coming? When’s it coming?’”
“I like all of the holiday drinks,” Steinlage added. “I’m so excited they’re here.”
Bridges said there are still a few differences between ESU’s Starbucks and other locations.
“Being a licensed store, we give out the rewards but we don’t redeem them,” he said. “So, as they come to the store, they can use their apps and they can collect their points to use them at the corporate stores.”
And the store — which will be open 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday — Friday to start - is not just for the ESU community.
Twelve new 30-minute parking meters will soon be installed in the lot east of the Memorial Union for Starbucks customers, so they can make quick runs in and out for coffee.
“We are excited to be here,” Bridges said.