Salem, Va.–There’s a new option for students in need of a caffeine boost at Roanoke College’s primary studying hole.
CUPS on Campus, a new kiosk serving snacks, coffee, tea and other drinks, opened this week inside Fintel Library’s first floor lobby. Its opening marks the first week of spring semester classes at Roanoke and the first Salem location for coffee shop proprietor, Michelle Bennett.
In two years, Bennett has built a name for coffee service in Roanoke. She opened CUPS Coffee & Tea on Grandin Road in Southwest Roanoke in 2010. Last year, she opened a second location on Brambleton Avenue in Roanoke County, but it closed within a few months.
A Roanoke College employee who frequents Bennett’s Grandin Village shop suggested that the entrepreneur bring her coffee, tea and other food and drink offerings to campus, where the primary audience is approximately 2,217 students and faculty and at least 100 staff members. Bennett said she could not pass up the offer.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us to take our brand into Salem at a low capital cost to us,” she said.
The new shop serves CUPS’ own roasted coffee as well as java drinks specific to Roanoke College, such as a dark Rooney’s Roast and a raspberry-flavored Maroon Mocha. Other menu items include smoothies, espresso, teas, Italian sodas and juices.
Light snacks and desserts, such as brownies and cookies made by Roanoke area vendors, also are available.
Roanoke College financed construction and materials for the new coffee business, said Stan Umberger, director of the library. The College has considered adding this kind of shop to the library for several years, he said.
Bennett said she’s excited about catering her brand to different audiences.
“We’re hoping to sort of grab student body, staff and faculty, but since the library is open to the public, it’s the way to make the campus a destination,” she said.
Last week, construction crews added round bar tables with high stools to several columns in the library’s main floor as spots for CUPS patrons. Food and drinks are allowed throughout the library’s four floors.
CUPS accepts Maroon Cards, credit and debit cards and cash.
Bennett already has hired a manager for the shop and one other employee. She said she may hire additional staff.
The year-round business is open during the library’s busiest hours. Its hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It will close on Saturdays. The morning hours specifically target Roanoke employees, Bennett said.
Hours will be extended during exam weeks.
Along with food and drinks, CUPS may host a trivia night at the campus kiosk, similar to a popular Tuesday evening game event at its Grandin Village location, Bennett said.
Submitted by Roanoke College