MANKATO — Student co-managers Madelyn Bode and Delaney Giesen and student worker August Carlson had a long line of customers Tuesday morning as excitement brewed among attendees at the Scarlet Express’ grand opening.
The trio was already handing out mochas and lattes even before the ribbon was officially cut to open the student-run coffee shop at Mankato West High School.
“It’s awesome, because all of the stressful days me and Delaney have spent sitting at this countertop, it just feels so good to like, wow this is all of our hard work,” Bode said. “People are actually enjoying it, so it feels really, really good and something to feel really accomplished on.”
Bode and Delaney’s hard work began in August.
Since then, the seniors have been involved in prep work such as inventory, pricing products and figuring out what recipes to use.
“We have been working on it since then, buying all the decorations, figuring out the right recipes that kids will like, taste testing every single day with teachers and students, and figuring out how much ice and how much espresso we need in each one,” Bode said.
But the two just aren’t just co-managers. They’re running the show as part of a student internship.
Giesen, who hopes to major in business management, said the shop has been a great learning opportunity.
“So this is definitely something that I can put on my resume and have that as experience,” she said.
But while only a few student faces were behind the counter, West Principal Sherri Blasing said several different classes and community partners teamed up to bring the first-of-its-kind coffee shop to life.
In fact, several students had a hand in starting the shop from the ground up.
For example, the school’s interior design class worked with ISG to learn how to put together design mockups.
Construction students also worked with WEB Construction on some of the space’s renovations, and the sales and marketing class had an assignment to help with the branding of the shop.
Students also have been working with Beans Coffee Company in Mankato to learn how to make the drinks, and Alpine Bistro donated some of its equipment for students to use.
“This is so exciting, to be honest. It’s like a dream come true. This has been such a collaborative effort,” Blasing said.
While the interns run the shop, the school is also offering special education kids student worker opportunities.
Mankato district work-based learning coordinator Ashely Hawker said the experience teaches practical skills in a non-classroom setting.
“And then they’re also learning soft skills on top of these, so time management, organization, communication,” she said.
Carlson, a sophomore, said it’s fun to watch the coffee shop thrive. “It’s really helped me with figuring out what strengths I have, if I want to work in retail or a coffee shop, because I really enjoy this.”
The coffee shop, located inside the school for students and staff, is typically open 8-10:15 a.m.
Schedule changes will be posted to their Instagram: @scarlet.express.coffee.