Campus Coffee Shop Serves Up Learning Experiences for Student Owners

Preston Shaw, Nick Pochiba, Lindsay Singler and Jen Wloch operate Roasted Cafe

WASHINGTON, Pa. (May 15, 2013) – What began as a learning opportunity has transformed into a profitable business for three Washington & Jefferson College students who own and operate Roasted Café, a coffee shop in the atrium of the Swanson Science Center.

Tim Murphy, associate professor of entrepreneurial studies, saw the Parkhurst-owned business as a prospective project for his students when sales were low in 2011. Senior accounting major Nick Pochiba volunteered to take over the business his sophomore year with the help of classmates Dylan Haas and Preston Shaw.

“Professor Murphy suggested that it would be very difficult, but there was some time to make a profit,” Pochiba said.

After drafting a business plan, finding investors and securing a loan, the trio opened the doors to Roasted Café in February 2012. More than a full year into its operation, Roasted Café is thriving while serving as a real-world business laboratory for its student owners.

“Roasted gave me valuable insight and experience at a young age,” Pochiba said. “To me, there is no greater satisfaction than accomplishing something from nothing in terms of a business.”

To meet growing customer demands, Roasted Café employs a team of four baristas who prepare specialty coffee drinks using Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and serve freshly made pastries. The baristas also assist with the café’s loyalty programs, which allow customers to receive a free drink after purchasing 10 or pay upfront for a semester of unlimited coffee.

Shaw, a junior accounting major, will continue running Roasted next year under the guidance of Rick Kinder, associate professor of business administration and faculty adviser for the project. Shaw, who secured an internship this summer with Dick’s Sporting Goods, appreciates the opportunity to apply concepts he learns in class to the business. “Having on my resume that I ran my own business at 19 years old is something that can really stand out to employers,” he said.

Pochiba says he is excited to see students carry on the tradition. “Roasted is like my baby,” he said. “I loved running the shop during my junior and senior years, and I would love to see some entrepreneurial students continuing to run it in 10 years.”

Roasted Café is open for business during the academic year Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.