College students get coffee from young faces, new café owners
August 25, 2005
For many new and returning students at Western Nevada Community College, the first stop of the day won’t be their 8 a.m. computer class. It will be the college café for a mocha with a double shot of espresso.
The students aren’t just lining up in front of the counter, they are behind it too.
After getting laid off by the former operator of the college café, WNCC students Kaysea Johnson, 19, and Jenniffer Dunn, 22, beat out six other vendors to take over the business. The two women did it with a business plan they researched on the Internet and without a single college finance class. They christened the café anew: Java Dash.
“We figured the ‘Dash’ fit us best because we all have had to dash to class, dash to work,” said Dunn, a Carson High School grad who wore tortoise-shell rimmed glasses and a hoop ring in her lip.
“Dash because of the coffee,” said Johnson, also a Carson grad who has yet to declare a major.
With $7,500 in startup capital, and $12,000 invested by the college for equipment, the two young women anticipate a year in the black, and they just don’t mean the coffee.
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“Since Kaysea and I started working here, sales skyrocketed and students have been staying on campus to eat, rather than going to McDonald’s,” said Dunn.
She got her business experience from doing the books for Java Joe’s, also the place where she met Johnson. The two credit their coffee finesse to Java Joe’s owner John Davis. And they are not at all bitter that he had to lay them off. It brought an opportunity for Johnson and Dunn.
The cafe, which opened June 27, one month after Java Joe’s pulled out, has a different look and a different menu. Jargon and quotes, such as “Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle,” are a philosophical addition to the colorful, abstract murals. The college art department also contributed the Tessellation art for the booth table tops. Tessellation is a series of repeated, interlocking designs.
With the goal of attracting college students, the grand opening celebrations on Wednesday and Thursday will feature local bands, belly dancers, jugglers and hip hop dancers.
Now that the school year has begun, they anticipate many long hours in the kitchen, which was painted by a 15-year-old graffiti artist. They joked about bringing sleeping bags into the café.
This semester Johnson and Dunn will take their first business class through the Internet.
“Every other night we’re going to bring the laptop in and work here,” Dunn said.
Java Dash, located in the Aspen Building, has breakfast, lunch and snack items priced from $4 to $6. It’s open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and until 2 p.m. Friday.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.
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