May 16 – Following a successful trial run, Millikin University and Hickory Point Bank & Trust have announced that Blue Brew, a Millikin student-run coffee shop, will continue starting in August. The shop will be housed in the Hickory Point Bank & Trust building on North Water Street in downtown Decatur.
The idea for the coffee shop was brought forward by Hickory Point Bank, and four Millikin business students worked on the concept for the business. The students tested the concept by opening a one-week pop-up shop as a hands-on market feasibility test this past April.
Blue Brew will be an entrepreneurship laboratory where students run the shop as a course under the facilitation of a faculty member.
Tony Nestler, Hickory Point Bank President & CEO says that by partnering with Millikin to help students gain knowledge and skills by running a business is great for the community as a whole.
“The Strength of our community and the success of Millikin are interlocked. And so the stronger Millikin becomes and the stronger their students become, the stronger our community becomes. And, also I think it’s going to be great to have another coffee shop downtown”.
Millikin students Aric Hopp, Carson Jones, Jesse Sargeant, and Martel McGee came up with the Blue Brew name and business plan. Jones says it’s fantastic to see all of their hard work pay off in such a big way.
“Today was just absolutely fantastic and just kind of like surreal. Surreal because actually just seeing our hard work that we’ve done this entire semester come in to action and say that we will be officially opened in August”.
Julie Shields, Director of Millikin’s Center for Entrepreneurship, said they will need some help from the community before they are able to open in August.
“So the build out is not currently budgeted. So we need to make sure we are making proper connections. So we need architects, we need builders, We need plumbers, we need individuals who have access to furniture, to kind of step forward and figure out how we can put this together on a shoestring budget, but also make it look great and something that Hickory Point Bank can be proud of as well as Millikin”.
During the one-week market feasibility test, Blue Brew sold their Basic Blue, a freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee; Artisan blend, a pour-over in Colombian or Nicaraguan blend; iced tea, bottled water and muffins.
The Blue Brew course will be offered for the Fall semester and students can start registering now.