Virtual Enterprise to sell coffee where it’s never ‘bean’ before


Cassidy Bailey

Bearden students are voting for the name of the new coffee shop, which is set to open soon in the library.

Allie Gruszkiewicz, News Editor

Grab a book, buy a cup of coffee, relax on the couch and sip while you read. No, it’s not your favorite bookstore or a nearby café; this could soon be the scene of Bearden’s library.

Bearden’s Virtual Enterprise has a “latte” on their minds as they plan to open a new coffee shop in the next week or two. The project is led by senior Brooke Hobbs, the student manager.

“A lot of students I’ve spoken to are surprised, and they’re excited,” Hobbs said.

The coffee shop will be located on the lower level of the library, close to Mrs. Rachel Harmon’s office. It will be open from 7:45 to 8:20 a.m. and during lunch, but the possibility of opening after school is also being discussed.

Hobbs and VE teacher Ms. Kathy McCoy plan on selling lattes and hot chocolate as well as regular coffee, with prices ranging from one to three dollars. They also want to encourage students to bring their own cups and coffee mugs, as a cup from the store will cost 50 cents.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to price things so it’s a little more economical than going to Starbucks, but the quality of what we’re offering will be every bit as good,” Ms. McCoy said.

Because of new food restrictions, VE had to quit selling biscuits and donuts in the mornings. As a result, there was a loss in money coming into the program.

The money raised by the coffee shop will be split evenly between VE and the library. VE will use their share of the profit to send its business students to New York for the annual trade show.

Similar to the couches and the new student “Maker Space,” the coffee shop will add another point of interest to the library.

“I love coffee, and I love having students love the library,” librarian Ms. Kristen Heffern said. “Anything that encourages a love of the library, even if it’s because we have coffee here, is great in my book.”

The challenge for Hobbs and Mrs. McCoy now is to partner with a coffee shop and find suppliers, preferably local. Operating within Knox County restrictions and bookkeeping requirements present a challenge as well.

For now, navigating these challenges is good practice for students as they gain experience with the difficulties of opening a business.

“I really hope that this will go well,” Hobbs said. “And that we can leave something for Virtual Enterprise in the future.”