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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Sports-themed coffee shop to open in Kent

Courtesy of Ally Eclarin and Cassy Kopp
State Champs, a sports-themed coffee shop, will open in Kent in January.

Coffee lovers and sport fans will have a chance to enjoy drinks, sports and memorabilia at 427 Franklin Ave. in Kent starting in January. 

The idea for the new coffee destination, soon to be named State Champs, came from co-founders Ally Eclarin and Cassy Kopp.

“It’s one of those great ideas where you think, ‘It must already exist,’ and upon doing research — it didn’t,” Eclarin said. “We have sports bars, and we have coffee shops, and what we found is that sports fans, coffee fans and streetwear fans all have similar interests and community is the thing that connects all three.”

Eclarin and Kopp said they knew they wanted to start a business, and they had always played around with the idea of “State Champs.”

Eclarin worked in the tech industry for the last decade, and Kopp worked retail. That’s something they say makes for the “perfect pairing.”

“I’m a starter, and Cassy is a finisher,” Eclarin said.

Together, the two backgrounds come together to form a team dynamic, Kopp said. 

“I’ve managed brick and mortar and my dream was always to manage for myself,” Kopp said.

State Champs will open at 427 Franklin Ave. in Kent. (Courtesy of Ally Eclarin and Cassy Kopp)

With Kopp’s skills in management and Eclarin’s marketing strategies, the two got to work on the venture and looked for the perfect location. 

“Cassy has ties to Kent, and it was the perfect city location to do it,” Eclarin said of their new location.

Kopp graduated from Kent State in 2016 with a degree in political science with a minor in psychology. 

“I started retail after I graduated, which is a stepping stone until I hit politics, but then I kept moving up and if I hadn’t moved from that path, I wouldn’t have been able to open State Champs,” Kopp said.

With the location selected, the two said they got to work on bringing their dream to life and narrowing down what they wanted to include at State Champs, including the “streetwear mentality.” 

“The biggest thing with streetwear is its history and community,” Eclarin said, “The blend of that is its exclusivity in retail where you feel like you are a part of something. It is inclusive in the way that you feel like a part of a brand that I love and support because they share the same values as me.”

One of the final pieces of building their dream is paying for it, they said. To finance State Champs, the duo started a campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

“The Kickstarter is up because we are fully funding this by ourselves,” Kopp said, “It has been our passion, but obviously there’s different dues, bills, and building costs.”

The two said that the mentality of exclusivity built on inclusion, partnered with their coffee, is what builds “State Champs’ community.”

Patrick Creedon is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].

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