by CAMERON BOLTON
The coffee shop in in Olmsted has undergone a brand new renovation this year. The old coffee shop has been replaced by an officially licensed Starbucks. The coffee shop located inside Cowles Library has remained unchanged as of this time.
According to Aaron Knutson, the General Manager of Drake Dining for the last five years, the decision to renovate came about through a multitude of different ways. A couple of years ago, Drake University officials came together and tried to come up with a plan that would create an exciting environment that students would be happy to be a part of.
“I am actually [happy about the renovations they made],” said sophomore Ace Tipton. “It looks really nice, and I liked how they added a lot more study areas than what used to be over here. It definitely looks a lot more relaxed too.”
The university, Drake Dining and Starbucks made the new design by working with a local architect. Knutson also reiterated that the space is supposed to be student-friendly; a place where the students can feel part of all day long and even on the weekends.
When trying to make the decision to remodel, they also did multiple different types of surveys and building evaluations. They asked other universities about what they liked or what they’ve done that Drake could feasibly do without leaving an impact on the outer structure of Olmsted.
“And so looking at all those things, the university and Drake Dining decided to enter into a relationship with Starbucks and put that Starbucks into the Olmsted Center,” said Knutson. “That decision was made probably about. . .last March or April 2019. And once that decision was made, we went into the execution of bringing Starbucks to campus.”
Sterling McTee, a sophomore and occasional coffee drinker, explained that what he loved most about the location is the new seating. According to McTee, the old Olmsted seating was a little uncomfortable, and there wasn’t enough for the volume of students in Olmsted. In the new Starbucks, McTee believes there is plenty of seating to go around.
“It’s kind of my default spot when I’m kind of between classes or whatever because I’m a commuter student, so I don’t have a room to go back to,” said McTee. “So this is just kind of where I go, and I love it.”
In addition to an expanded menu, students are also able to use Starbucks gift cards at the Olmsted location. Students can also gain stars through the Starbucks app for all purchases made with their own money, not with Flex dollars. Students can also not redeem the stars on campus for things like a latte or brewed coffee, Starbucks franchise stores have to redeem those.
“So we are a franchisee of Starbucks and not a franchise store,” Knutson said. “So our store acts no different than the store you would see at a Hy-Vee. The menu and stuff would be similar to what you would see at our campus here. But again, you can collect the rewards, the stars to the app, but you cannot redeem them for the pre-purchase.”