SIFE considers opening coffee shop

by Andrea McNamara

In only its second year as a club on campus, Students in Free Enterprise is considering opening a coffee shop in Indianola.

During May Term last spring, SIFE members drew up a plan to open their own coffee shop.

“We [SIFE] surveyed Simpson students and the number one business students said they’d like is a coffee shop,” said Tom Schmidt, advisor for SIFE and assistant professor of management.

The group decided the coffee shop would not only have snacks and beverages, but also computers with Internet access and an area to study in.

Schmidt said it would “just be a place to hang out” and like an “off-campus student union.”

“It will give the students another place to hang out without having to be in an alcoholic environment,” said junior SIFE member Jessica Fagen.

SIFE still had some decisions left to make before starting the project.

The group’s first meeting was Tuesday night so that the group could decide together if they still wanted to pursue the coffee shop idea.

One opposition standing in the way was the opening of a new coffee shop in Indianola near the Subway at 606 N. Jefferson St.

The group still had an interest in completing the project.

Another difficult block for the group is raising enough funds to open a coffee shop.

The business would be completely run by students and funded by grants and fundraisers, according to Schmidt.

“[A] major stumbling block is building enough capital,” Schmidt said.

“We’ve looked into getting a lot of grants,” said senior SIFE member Justin Palmer.

If the group raises enough money, they have plans of opening the shop somewhere on the Indianola square. That would mean the coffee shop would not only benefit Simpson students but also the entire community.

Local residents could buy drinks and snacks, but also study and possibly watch a local band perform on the weekends.

“All the members will have to focus on this project to get the work done,” Palmer said.

Although SIFE is still a newer club, the group has already accomplished other goals.

Last year the Simpson chapter of SIFE became one of 1,200 SIFE’s teams in the world.

During their first year, members helped teach local high school students about business. The group also started making decisions about starting the coffee business.

Palmer said, “I think most everyone will be excited about this project.”