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Late night coffee available for students
By Abbigail Overfelt
“There was nowhere to hang out other than McDonalds, especially at night,” Page said.
Now, as operator of Pembroke’s “The ‘Broke Coffee House”, he hopes that will change.
With hours that stretch until midnight or later during the week and free Wi-Fi access, the shop might be the place for students looking for a pick-me-up during those late night study sessions.
Even students not from the area have been taking advantage of the internet access. Jeremiah Swett, a student at Parnell Law School in Ithaca, N.Y., has spent almost an entire day on the shop’s Wi-Fi network.
“My favorite thing about the shop is being able to do work and send e-mail through the wireless access,” he said.
But students aren’t the only patrons they cater to. Located directly across from UNCP’s Old Main, Page said that the shop brings in campus faculty and staff on their lunch breaks.
Administrative Support Associate Shawna Cummings, who works in Student Affairs, is one of such staff. “I’m a Starbucks person,” Cummings said, “but I like [The ‘Broke ] better because of the prices and the variety.” Cummings added that her favorite beverage so far was the Almond Joy Freeze.
The shop is also growing in popularity with the Pembroke locals.
“We already have about five regular customers who order the same thing every day,” Page said. “In fact, we had a customer in recently who told me that if I could guess his order, he would buy me a coffee-it was a large hazelnut latte with an extra shot of espresso,” he said, smiling.
Menu options include coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, iced coffee, smoothies and milk shakes. All regular drinks start at $3 or less. Snacks such as muffins, brownies, biscotti and bagels are also offered and patrons can also choose from a selection of Paninis for $5.70 or wraps for $4.75. “Our smoothies sell better than our milk shakes, which I think are delicious,” Page said.
In addition to the menu items, The ‘Broke coffee house features the work of local artists for sale. Patrons can also choose from a selection of memorabilia such as t-shirts and mugs, and a $10 promotional tumbler will guarantee unlimited half-price refills.
“The ‘Broke Coffee House” is owned by Page’s parents and experienced entrepreneurs, Bobby and Kathy Page. After hearing Page’s idea for a student-friendly coffeehouse, the Pages settled on a place within three months.
While Kathy Page and Traci Nott, Wesley’s sister, picked the décor, Page says he and his father, who is currently in Iraq, did all the work themselves.
“Before, the place was just white walls,” he said, waving his arm to encompass the bar, wall paneling, and seating. The only original décor are the floors, which were left there by the previous establishment.
“Everyone in the town was very friendly and inviting,” said Page of getting all the requirements together for starting a business. He said that UNCP’s Director of the Office of Minority Affairs Robert Canida was also helpful in passing out fliers and sending e-mails, so far their only form of advertisement. Page hopes to use his degree in Criminal Justice to serve in the military as an U.S. Air Marshall. However, he said that if business does well he is willing to consider opening more businesses of this kind in the future.
As the operator, one thing that is important to Page is selling locally produced items.
All the coffee that The ‘Broke serves is roasted at Cactus Creek Coffee in Raeford, N.C.
Sunday is the only day he or his staff can’t be found working. The ‘Broke is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-12 a.m. (or later on Thursdays) and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.