PINEVILLE — Commerce Coffee Shop, previously known as Deja Brew, finished a successful year with senior student commerce participants managing and working at the coffee shop. Commerce Coffee Shop, owned by the McDonald County Chamber of Commerce, facilitates an environment for senior students to run a business and receive a $500 scholarship at the end of the school year.
Terra Sanders, 48, is the office administrator for the McDonald County Chamber of Commerce. Sanders said the Student Chamber of Commerce was started to educate high school students on how to effectively run a business. At the beginning of each school year, the Student Chamber of Commerce is asked what type of business they would like to run and learn more about. For the 2020-2021 school year, the students chose to continue with the idea of a coffee shop, something that had been proposed last year but was altered due to covid-19.
“We had them create the business from the very beginning,” Sanders said. “Choosing the name, all the way to running it. They had to stock it, create recipes, everything.”
Sanders said she believes the coffee shop will be busier next year, as the next group of seniors will likely face fewer covid-19 restrictions.
“I think it’s going to be busier,” Sanders said. “They’ll have more opportunities at the beginning of next year. I think it’s going to be even bigger.”
Sarah Allen, 39, is the marketing and customer relations manager for Commerce Coffee Shop. Allen said there were four student workers for the 2020-2021 school year, which included Kaycee Factor, Sydnie Sanny, Erin Cooper, and Ireal Marcos. Allen said the next group of students will begin working in the shop when the 2021-2022 school year begins.
“I think this coming year we’re going to need more than four,” Allen said. “By the time school starts back up, business will be different than it was when school ended.”
Allen said students who participate will receive a $500 scholarship, work experience, and a grade and credit for a class at McDonald County High School.
Erin Cooper, 18, was one of the four students working at Commerce Coffee Shop during the school year. Cooper said she gained communications skills and money-management skills while working through the Student Chamber of Commerce.
“I was really nervous to work there because I’m not a people-person really,” Cooper said. “But I made myself be able to talk to people, like while I’m making their coffee, and strike up conversations.”
Cooper said each student was given a specific task to manage at the shop, and Cooper’s task was money management.
“It was a lot of fun, I had so many spreadsheets that I had to take care of,” Cooper said. “I was in charge of money and every deposit we had. I had to keep track of every single item we sold, specifics, and everything like that. Everything we bought, so that was really fun.”
Cooper said although she is not pursuing a career in business, she believes her improved communication and money management skills will help her regardless of what career path she chooses to pursue.
Commerce Coffee Shop, located at 308 Harmon Street in Pineville, will be open throughout the summer. The shop will be selling coffee, sandwiches and snacks, as well as goods made by local shops and individuals.
“Definitely coming in and supporting the coffee shop is huge,” Allen said. “Just word of mouth, and letting people know we’re here.”
PHOTO BY ALEXUS UNDERWOOD/SPECIAL TO MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS. Commerce Coffee Shop is open 8-2 Monday through Friday. Commerce Coffee Shop has remained open, after slowdowns due to covid-19, since January 2021.