There’s a new coffee shop coming to Fremont this fall.
While the new beverage stop plans to sell all of the usual coffee shop fare, the people it serves and those developing new business are less-than typical.
The coffee shop, to be known as Deja Brew, will not only serve students at Fremont High School it will also be run and managed by their fellow classmates.
“This is the first class that MCC (Metropolitan Community College) has ever had that has created a business incubator and is actually going to have a student run, student managed business,” Dan Smith, MCC instructor, said.
Throughout the last quarter students in the dual credit entrepreneurship class, offered by Fremont High School and Metropolitan Community College at the local high school, have worked to make the coffee shop a reality.
“We came to these students with the idea, or the premise, and we let them take it and run with it,” Matt Burg, business teacher at Fremont High School, said. “They’ve done a great job with coming up with all of the ideas. They named it, created the logo, marketing concept, business prospectus; every element has been done by the students.”
According to Burg, the plan is for Deja Brew to be up-and-running by the start of classes next fall in the newly renovated concession stand near the Nell McPherson Theater at the high school.
“When they remodeled it, it was sort of with the idea that maybe something like this was going to take place,” he said. “Like a little student hangout to use before school.”
Currently the plan is for Deja Brew to be open to students and faculty before classes begin each day during the school year, as well as during TST, which is like a homeroom study-hall period.
“So along with being open before school, we are considering having one day during the week when freshman can go during TST, and another day sophomores, and so on,” Burg said. “Because it’s only about a 30-minute period and we can only serve so many people in that amount of time.”
To help make Deja Brew a reality, Fremont High School used money from a Career and Technical Education grant that the school receives on a yearly basis as well as partnered partnered with LaRue Coffee which will provide the equipment and coffee to the new business.
“We set aside $9-10,000 and we are only going to use around half of that,” Burg said. “That was the great deal with LaRue, because if we buy and sell their product they let us use some of their machines for free.”
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According to Burg, and the students in the class, the most difficult part of developing the business was deciding on a name.
“It took them a matter of about 5 minutes to choose a logo, out of a ton of options, and it took us over a week to choose the name and get everybody to agree on it,” Burg said.
To determine the name, Deja Brew, and many other factors in their business plan the students did a market survey of over 400 of their classmates.
“We took a survey of the school and picked the top three names,” Avery Gossett, student in the entrepreneurship class, said. “We asked if they drink coffee, their favorite kind, how often they would get coffee if it was available and a bunch of other stuff.”
Through that survey the class decided on Deja Brew over several other proposed names like Tiger Bean and Rise and Grind.
While most of the students in the entrepreneurship class don’t currently take time out of their mornings to get coffee from Starbucks, Scooters, or any other local coffee shop, the convenience of having it right at school could change that.
“I don’t get coffee before school, but I would if it was at the high school,” Jake Heineman said.
According to the class, the plan is to sell a variety of coffee drinks including everything from a simple cup of black coffee to espresso, cappuccino, iced coffee and seasonal drinks. They also want to include food items like varieties of cookies, muffins and fruit.
According to Smith, having students actually start a business during the dual credit entrepreneurship class gives them an ideal real-world scenario to put what they’ve learned into use.
“This class is about students who are interested in running their own business, and learning about what all that entails, and what that process is like,” he said. “So to have them actually create their own business is huge.”
He also commended Fremont High School for its commitment to the project.
“The administration and the school is excited about it, which makes it happen,” he said. “We owe Fremont High a great deal of credit for being able to put it together and get the funding for it. It will happen and it will be extremely unique, particularly for Nebraska.”