Co-ops With a Coffee

Kelsey Goslin and Meghan Regan with Nick Bayer, CEO and founder of Saxbys Coffee, on the opening day of Drexel's Saxbys.
Kelsey Goslin and Meghan Regan with Nick Bayer, CEO and founder of Saxbys Coffee, on the opening day of Drexel's Saxbys.

Meghan Regan didn’t know what to expect when she came across an opportunity for a “café opening position” co-op at Saxbys Coffee.

“I was like, ‘Café opening position, what does this even mean?’ I didn’t know what it was,” she explained.

During a subsequent two-hour interview with Saxbys CEO and founder Nick Bayer, she learned the co-op was for a position that would manage the opening of the first student-run Saxbys Coffee, which would be located on Drexel’s campus. Her job duties would include creating marketing promotions, making connections with suppliers, and hiring and training an opening staff of about 18 Drexel students, all of whom would get credit for a co-op through Saxby’s partnership with the Close School of Entrepreneurship.

Essentially, Regan would be in charge of the first-ever student-run Saxbys and be treated just like any other café owner or manager.

“Once I learned I was going to play such an integral part in the café opening, I realized this was exactly the perfect co-op,” the junior marketing major said.

Kelsey Goslin, a junior entrepreneurship and management major, experienced that same eureka moment before replacing Regan as the Drexel co-op on the project. She’s assumed all of Regan’s responsibilities plus managing the day-to-day operations of the shop.

“I love learning about management in different environments. I knew I wanted to apply somewhere that had a fast-paced environment and I knew this would be it,” Goslin said.

“Fast-paced” has been an understatement since the store opened.

During the first two weeks of Regan’s fall/winter co-op, she shadowed Bayer to get an idea of the company. After that, she trained at the Saxbys in Haverford, Ardmore, Peddler’s Village and then managed the Saxbys on Penn’s campus, all in preparation for hiring and managing the team that would be the opening staff at Drexel’s location.

Close School of Entrepreneurship Dean Donna De Carolis, President John Fry, Saxbys Coffee CEO and founder Nick Bayer and U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah sipped the first espressos served at Drexel’s new Saxbys.

Regan received 70 applications, she went through all of them with Saxbys’ training manager and ended up hiring students on her own. She quickly learned to do interviews as an employer by looking for potential employees that were extremely “ODD,” or Outgoing, Detail-oriented and Disciplined.

“I learned that the way Saxbys interviews is just as intense as a co-op, even if it’s for a part-time job,” Regan said. “We could teach anybody how to make coffee or a sandwich, but that person has to have this spirit and be the right fit for this kind of fast-paced environment.”

Goslin’s been busy since her beginning as well. Though her co-op is spring/summer, she started her position in mid-February as a student (the store opened the third week of spring term). She trained at the Rittenhouse Saxbys location on weekends and after class so she could not only do her job, but teach and manage others to do the same.

Their hard work paid off. The store’s April 13 opening was attended by Bayer, 11th-term U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Drexel President John A. Fry and Dean of Drexel’s Close School of Entrepreneurship Donna De Carolis, along with all of the news crews and reporters covering the event. Lots of students — the target customers — stopped by to check out the latest coffee shop on campus and take advantage of the free credit Regan’s promotions offered.

Since then, the coffee shop has been extremely busy with students coming in to check the place out. After two weeks, the café has regular customers, some of whom come in five times a day. Regan and Goslin don’t expect any lull: their shop is located on the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and 34th Street, a few blocks away from Drexel’s five dorms, fraternity houses and off-campus student housing. Plus, the café offers outdoor seating and lots of pastry, sandwich, salad and drink options (Goslin recommends the grasshopper fro-latte; Regan — the triple berry smoothie).

With all the business, Goslin’s been sometimes placing daily orders for essentials like food, cups, coffee and syrups (most Saxbys order twice a week); she’s even had to run to the grocery store to restock yogurt. Beside managing the inventory, Goslin is also in charge of deliveries, on-site cooking, looking over the shop’s finances and organizing the schedules of the 18 or so employees.

And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I cannot sit at a desk and do Microsoft Excel sheets for my life,” Goslin said. “Here, there’s so much to do and I’m always busy and running around. That’s what I love."