BOWIE, Md. — Some students at Bowie State University are about to see what it is like to operate their own business with the launch of a new student-run cafe this week.
The university has partnered with Saxbys, a social impact, and coffee company, to bring the opportunity to students. It's all part of Saxbys Experiential Learning Program, which exists on college campuses throughout Pennsylvania. When the cafe opens Tuesday, it will be the first out of state and at a historically black college and university.
Ray Smeriglio is head of partnerships for Saxbys which launched the program in 2015. He tells WUSA9 the opportunity is about empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs.
"We're a company based on relationships," Smeriglio said. "We like to go where not only is the Saxbys mission going to be valued, but will be matched."
"The student-team members are absolutely phenomenal," he said. " The hospitality that was already on that campus was perfect for what we do."
Devin Gallion, 21, is the student CEO for the Saxbys Experiential Learning Cafe. He is a business administration major and junior at the school. The team trained for ten full days. He is excited that the opening day is almost here.
"I've always been interested in food service, so I feel like this was the perfect next step for my career after college, "Gallion said. "Saxbys EOP program allows me to get the skills I'll need when I graduate."
Gallion will manage a team of 45 peers, oversee all cafe operations and present profit and loss statements monthly to Saxby's executive team.
"I like to think of my team as special," Gallion said.
Some of the items on the menu will include a Milk and Honey Cold Brew as well as an Iced Vanilla Matcha Latte.
The cafe will be open to "guests", that's what Saxbys calls its customers, for a soft opening on Monday, Nov. 18.
The grand opening is Tuesday, Nov.19. Bowie State President Aminta Breaux and Saxbys founder and CEO Nick Bayer will help the team launch the celebration.