For coffee-lovers craving a taste of their favorite blend of mocha, cappuccino or Frappuccino, life got a little bit sweeter on the campus of Springfield College with the arrival of another famous brand in the world of coffee consumption.
Welcome to Springfield College, Starbucks. The college’s Starbucks’ stand, located on the first floor of Locklin Hall, had its grand opening on Tuesday, Jan. 21 from 2-5 p.m., the day before classes began for the semester. The spectacle drew an initial crowd of approximately 200 people jam-packed just inside the lobby of the building to see the new station.
Along with delicious samples of coffee and treats, students, faculty and staff got to partake in the event’s other festivities. After witnessing the ribbon cutting, all in attendance were urged to partake in the “guess the number of coffee beans” challenge and raffles that were being offered.
Ultimately, the grand opening was exactly what both the college and ARAMARK could have hoped for. It neatly tied the knot to a process that began around the end of last summer while Locklin Hall was in the process of renovation.
“We were extremely pleased with the enthusiasm of the community that attended last week’s grand opening event, and are thrilled that it was such a success,” ARAMARK Senior Food Service Director Jennifer Needle said in an email interview. Opening a Starbucks on campus started with a conversation, one that happens between the college and ARAMARK on a regular basis according to Vice President for Finance and Administration John Mailhot.
“We’re always in conversations with our partner ARAMARK, our food service operation, just about opportunities that might exist,” Mailhot said. “We’re looking at it as another partnership with ARAMARK to try to keep food service operations fresh, relevant, and in this case a nice opportunity to provide our students with a different alternative.”
Before Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts was the main source of caffeine for weary students and faculty alike. It was the only name brand for coffee on campus, which was great for Dunkin’ lovers, but provided very little option in the way of choice. For many, it was Dunkin’ or exhaustion. The decision to bring Starbucks to campus was in no way a sleight against Dunkin’, but instead, a way to provide students with an alternative in a location that is highly frequented.
“Today’s students want flexibility in their dining options on campus, as well as the national brands with which they are familiar,” Needle said. “Our goal was to offer an additional point of service for the Springfield College community to answer that need and improve their campus experience.”
According to Mailhot, Locklin is the largest classroom building on campus. It experiences a lot of traffic during not only the day, but also at night for evening classes, and on weekends for School of Human Services’ courses that are taught in the building.
“It seemed like a perfect location. The challenge we had was given that the discussion started as we were wrapping up the renovation, [so] it was trying to identify where we might be able to appropriately locate the Starbucks,” Mailhot said. After four different areas in the nearly renovated hall were considered, the current location on the first floor to the right of the main entrance was ultimately chosen with the blessing of the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, who sacrificed their waiting/seating area for the coffee stand.
“The faculty and staff over there were very gracious once they understood what we were trying to do,” Mailhot said.
After some adjustments in the architectural design of the area, the location was primed. The original plan was to open the Starbucks’ stand immediately following Columbus Day, but it took longer than expected to attain all of the proper Starbucks-approved coffee machinery, including an espresso machine that was imported from Italy. The staff also had to receive proper training from Starbucks. Although they were ready to open at the end of the fall semester, it was decided to celebrate the occasion in style this year, when students could fully enjoy the grand opening without the stress of final exams weighing them down.
In addition to serving delectable coffee drinks, the Starbucks offers a selection of grab-and-go food items, including pre-made Subway sandwiches at this time. The decision to have food available gives students the option to eat on the run, something that has been missing in the hall since the old food stop was closed a few years ago due to a lack of productivity.
So, whether students need a quick bite to eat or are craving a white chocolate mocha, the new Starbucks’ stand in Locklin Hall is ready to serve every tall – or perhaps venti – order