Cottonwood Coffee to caffeinate campus

Those who enjoy local coffee but don’t always have time to go to a coffee shop will no longer have to choose between buying local and making it to class on time. Cottonwood Coffee, a local Brookings coffee shop, has partnered with Aramark to bring a third Brookings location to campus.

This Cottonwood Coffee location will be housed in Ben Reifel Hall.

“At SDSU, a wide range of national brands [coffee] brands are covered, but what seemed to be missing was a local coffee vendor,” said Doug Wermedal, associate vice president of student affairs.

Bringing Cottonwood Coffee to campus will help build ties between campus and the community, Wermedal said.

In looking at how SDSU could bring local vendors to campus, the university noted Nick’s Hamburgers and how they provide burgers during games. Since that is temporary,

Wermedal said that they wanted a more permanent local vendor on campus. SDSU can’t support bringing on a full restaurant, so a coffee shop offered the perfect venue.

“The location will help spread out coffee options for students on campus,” senior graphic design major Roberta Forman said.

The idea to bring the coffee shop to campus was mutual, although Cottonwood Coffee owner Jacob Limmer approached SDSU initially. SDSU was looking for a different location for coffee as well, because all other coffee shops on campus are in one central location, in or near The Union. Putting a coffee shop in Ben Reifel seemed ideal because commuters and faculty who park in or near the commuter lot south of the Daktronics building and students living in the residence hall will have easy access to the Cottonwood location Limmer said.

“I won’t have to go out of my way [for coffee]. I’m usually not early so every minute counts,” said junior dairy manufacturing major Mitch Younie. “I get coffee from the closest place to me so [the new location] will positively affect me.”

Cottonwood Coffee has always had their eye on expanding, according Limmer. The coffee shop was looking at areas in town that would be more convenient space including the east side of the interstate, but realized that development was out of the way of the target audience. “Then we stumbled into pursuing a location on campus and the timing was good,” Limmer said. The menu will be mostly similar to the downtown location and focus almost entirely on coffee, but offer a few pastry varieties in the morning, according to Limmer. Depending on how this works out, the location may feature premade Cottonwood sandwiches that are offered at the Bistro, but no plans for that are finalized thus far.

“I think it will be a nice option. I would rather go to a local coffee shop rather than a big chain,” senior architecture major Shawn Barron.

The tentative hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week, similar to the downtown Cottownwood location. Limmer said it may be appropriate to open earlier or close earlier, depending on how the customers respond.

Originally, the campus location of Cottonwood had plans to open by move-in weekend but construction delays pushed that date back. With no official opening date, the goal now is an opening date in the next two weeks according to Limmer.

The success of the Erbert and Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop location in the Larson Commons One Stop Rabbit Shop also pushed SDSU to try another vendor in a residence hall, Wermedal said. Ben Reifel was chosen as the location because it is the largest new residence hall, and according to Weremdal the plan was already to put some form of retail in the hall, so minimal construction will be required. The only additions that will need to be made include countertops and plumbing to accommodate the needs of the coffee shop.

“SDSU is always looking for ways to reinforce the town and gown relationship, and Cottonwood addition to SDSU allows for this,” Wermedal said.

For the first year, students will be able to use HoboDough, credit/debit cards and cash. Depending on the success of the location after the first year, there may be discussion with Aramark on whether students will be able to use their flex dollars on coffee and other pastry items offered, though the decision will ultimately be up to Aramark.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this to students right away in the fall,” Weremedal said.

The campus location will offer no indoor seating, with the hopes of complimenting the expansion to a third location.

“It is unusual to have three of the same store in a town the size of Brookings, Limmer said. “We are trying to make each store as different as possible.” Cottonwood Coffee is a subcontractor to Aramark, which means they will be a Cottonwood business, but will approve all decisions through Aramark. Limmer and Cottonwood will be responsible for everything from the menu to hiring and firing staff.

“We are hoping to meet the fast paced and convenience demands of students who are on the go to classes, and feel this is the best way to do so without a drive thru.”

Cottonwood does not offer a drive-through location because drive-through don’t allow for the handcrafted, personal interaction Limmer and his staff strive for.

“We are really excited about this partnership with SDSU and Aramark,” Limmer said. “We are fortunate to be the first local business on campus.