Posted on 15 November 2013.
A student places an order as Summit staff hold down the fort behind the bar (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)
By LINCOLN DAVIDSON
Summit Coffee’s new Davidson College coffeehouse officially opens Monday, Nov. 18, after a “soft opening” this weekend.
The new location, known simply as “Summit Coffee,” was open from 3 to 8pm Friday for a trial run. Although the soft opening was unannounced, word got out, and more than 20 people were lined up at 3 pm waiting for the door to open. The coffeehouse enjoyed a steady stream of business throughout the afternoon.
Summit owner Tim Helfrich said the opening went smoothly, although it’s been a learning experience.
“We’ve been tested, we’re all learning, teaching our staff on the fly,” Helfrich said.
Davidson Farmer’s Market manager Courtney Spear has joined the Summit team as the kitchen manager for the Davidson College Summit Coffee branch location. Spear said she’s excited to have this opportunity to explore her passion for local food and get to know Davidson College students better.
“Part of what I love about working with the farmer’s market is the student connection, getting to know all of the students who volunteer there, so I’m hoping that will come and carry over into here,” Spear said. Spear said her vision for Summit Coffee at Davidson College is “simple but really good food.”
Before the coffeehouse opening there was significant speculation among Davidson students about what the new location might be named. While several names were considered, Tim Helfrich said Summit’s owners wanted to ensure the campus location was still seen as connected to the Main Street location.
“Our interest is in seeing what kind of a tag students give it to differentiate it from the Main Street site … We wanted this place to be another Summit,” Helfrich said.
Helfrich said there are no further plans at this time to open up a third Summit location.
“Since its inception, Summit has been built on an enfranchisable model, but that’s never been an immediate objective,” Helfrich said. “We don’t have any immediate plans [to open a third Summit location.]”
While most Davidson College students have been receptive to the idea of Summit Coffee coming to campus, a recent article in The Davidsonian student newspaper raised concerns about the new location allowing outsiders a view into the “Davidson bubble,” a term used by students to refer to the highly insular nature of campus life.
“We don’t view ourselves as outsiders,” Helfrich said. “Brian and I have a direct relationship with the college as alumni and our intention is to integrate [the location] into campus life as well as possible. Being as welcoming as possible to faculty and students, the entire Davidson College community, is really our goal.”
Students at the campus location on Friday seemed excited about the coffeehouse opening on campus.
“It’s really cool, definitely an upgrade over the Outpost. It has a much more welcoming environment,” senior Fred Irving said. “In the senior apartments there’s really no gathering space. This will be nice in that it fills that function.”
“It’s got a pretty relaxing atmosphere that should serve as a stress-reliever for students,” said senior Cameron Joe.
Sept. 16, 2013, “Summit Coffee celebrates 15 years of community”
Aug. 6, 2013, “Summit Coffee adding 2nd location, on the Davidson campus”
Students climb the steps into Davidson College’s Summit Coffee (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)
(from left) Juniors Diana Fairweather and Ellie Diamant and senior Alexis Grant chat over coffee (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)
Customers kept the Summit staff busy all afternoon (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)
The new location features long tables designed for students doing homework or socializing with friends after class (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)
Kitchen manager Courtney Spear tidies up a cooking area (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)
Yummy! The campus Summit location has a new menu of sandwiches and flatbread pizzas all made from scratch, as well as five new smoothie flavors (Lincoln Davidson/DavidsonNews.net)