Two student-run ventures, the Terrier Bakery and Olive Branch Fair Trade Store, opened their doors for campus business on Sept. 19.
The Terrier Bakery, run by students in French Professor Ella Kirk’s First-Year Colloquium, “The Art of Making Dough,” sells fresh bread and pastries to the campus community. The Olive Branch Fair Trade Store, an initiative led by Jason Bricker-Thompson, Director of Civic Engagement, began as a First-Year Colloquium and sells fair trade items ranging from clothing to crafts to food.
The two ventures have begun joint operation in order to expand hours and capabilities.
Student-run ventures are supported by the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship. The Center’s vision is that they will be college-owned, faculty-championed, curriculum-connected and student-run.
The involved students, who include Service Leaders, accounting students and entrepreneurship minors, in addition to Kirk’s Colloquium class, are gaining experience far beyond the realms of a typical classroom setting.
“Running a business is not easy,” Kirk said. “You have to put some (extra) hours into it. But they are prepared.”
The freshmen in Kirk’s Colloquium class said four weeks into the semester, running the bakery has added a different dimension to their college experience.
“I was hanging out with friends on Saturday night, and I had to leave to go baking,” said Colloquium student Jessica Bessner ’16. “You learn more responsibilities and how to manage time.
The Terrier Bakery is beginning its second year, and the Olive Branch Fair Trade Store, its fifth. By the Spring 2013 semester, they are hoping a permanent joint space on the first floor of the Kennedy Center will allow them to have business hours beyond just lunchtime two days a week.
Kirk’s grand vision for the space is an artsy cafe, which will sell the fair trade and bakery items, but also give student artists a place to display artwork and perform musical and theatrical acts.
Joining forces with the Terrier Bakery made sense for the Olive Branch Fair Trade Store because in recent years, student traffic has decreased to the Kennedy Center basement, where the store is currently located. The store will remain there for the time being, but Bricker-Thompson said he hopes selling some items at the first floor table two days a week will draw interest until they move to the permanent joint location.
The two ventures have provided Hiram students opportunities to pursue their passions, as well as gain experience. For Megan Drake ’13, the Olive Branch gives her an opportunity to be proactive about buying fair trade items.
“I don’t think most people realize where the products they buy come from,” she said. “There’s a lot of disconnect; we don’t look at the (whole picture), just the cost.”
Drake, a psychology and religious studies major, has been involved with Olive Branch events since her sophomore year and is a Service Leader.
For others, it’s opened their eyes to new interests. Olivia Payne ’16, a neuroscience major, is in “The Art of Making Dough” Colloquium, never fancied herself a cook, but is learning more every day.
“I (was) so bad at cooking,” she said, “but baking is getting easier.”
Kirk said the bakery made nearly $5,000 last year, and the students hope to exceed that this year. For Bricker-Thompson, he hopes the Olive Branch store will continue to grow its presence on campus.
“We want this to be a student-oriented project, so finding ways to incorporate service learning and internships into it is really important,” he said.
Beginning Sept. 26, the table for both ventures will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the Kennedy Center. The Olive Branch store will also have programming some Thursday evenings from 7-8 p.m. The ventures will not be open on Thursday, Sept. 20, due to Campus Day.