Blue Brew nears opening date
Millikin University student-run coffee shop Blue Brew is expected to open its doors in Sept. 2017. The shop will be housed in the Hickory Point Bank & Trust building, located at 225 N. Water St. in downtown Decatur, Ill.
The idea for the coffee shop was first developed 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 from April 3-7, 2017.
In a recent interview with WAND-TV, Julie Shields, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Millikin, said, "The students are the ones driving this. They're driving the curriculum and it's their vision. The best part of this as an educator is stepping aside and letting them do what they want to do."
The students will make every decision, from the list of products to how they want sales interactions to be handled. Millikin plans to offer classes to line up with managing the business.
"Blue Brew is a collaboration between Millikin, Hickory Point Bank and the downtown community," said Jesse Sargeant, a senior entrepreneurship major from Decatur. "It's not just us making a coffee shop for ourselves, it's helping Millikin students learn and it's giving the community somewhere to go to get coffee and enjoy their time downtown."
Blue Brew will be a food innovation and entrepreneurship laboratory positioned for Millikin students to run the shop as a course under the facilitation of a faculty member. The goals of the course are to create a financially sustainable laboratory for students and the community to practice food entrepreneurship; create a visible community outlet to promote its own food innovation competencies; and create channels for continued collaboration among businesses, Millikin, and customers.
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.