Tree City Coffee now employing students


Caitlin Rose, junior musical theatre major, enjoys coffee at Tree City Coffee on Jan. 19. Rose hopes to work at the coffee shop, which opened Monday. Photo by Casey Lawver.

Kelli Fitzpatrick

Tree City Coffee & Pastry had its grand opening Jan. 16 in the Acorn Alley II area of downtown Kent. Owners Evan Bailey and Mike Beder said they had Kent State students in mind when planning the coffee shop.

“We did our homework: In our research, we kind of uncovered that students wanted a lot more electrical outlets, wanted (a coffee shop) to be a lot more wired,” said Bailey, an assistant journalism professor. “We went crazy and put outlets every four feet in the main room, so basically every table can have two sets of plugs for computers.”

Bailey and Beder’s research included working with an Audience Analysis and Research class in spring. The class conducted surveys and focus groups that revealed KSU students’ desire for more food and drink options.

“We asked college students, ‘What are you drinking at a coffee shop?’” Bailey said. “We found that a lot of freshmen and sophomores drink a lot of soda and don’t really drink coffee.”

The Tree City owners incorporated the class’s findings into their business plan by purchasing a soda fountain and expanding their menu.

“Initially we were just looking (to have) just a pastry (menu),” Bailey said. Then, “we kind of broadened it a little bit” to include sandwiches and bagels.

Bailey said the coffee shop has a drive-through service for student customers.

“It’s something for students on the go, commuters in inclement weather,” Bailey said. “Sometimes you have twenty minutes between class, so that’s something we saw a need for.”

Beder said Tree City currently has 30 employees, most of whom are students.

“What’s nice is we’re open 18 hours a day, and our shifts run four to six hours,” said Beder, who works with the Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. “So it seems like our student employees enjoy the flexibility here.”

Stephanie Duchon, freshman exploratory major, started working at Tree City the week before it’s grand opening. She said she likes that Tree City doesn’t feel “corporate.”

“It’s really laid back,” she said. “I like the vibe and the people are friendly.”

Duchon, a Stow resident, said she plans to work there through the summer.

“I want to make it more of a long-time thing,” she said.

Bailey said Tree City pays employees $7.90 an hour, plus tips.

Anthony Giambroni, junior history major, spent most of Monday morning at the Tree City grand opening.

“It’s great. I really like the atmosphere,” Giambroni said. “It needs a little more seating, but I like that they have 50 cent refills.”

Bailey said Tree City is ideal for students who want to save money.

Why should I care?

Tree City Coffee & Pastry is a new coffee shop in downtown Kent, minutes from campus.

Tree City Coffee’s staff includes mostly KSU students and is still accepting applications (must be 16 years of age or older).


Mon.-Fri: 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Sat.-Sun: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“If you’re a student and you’re on a budget, and you want to go out on a date, you can come here and share a slice of cheesecake and coffee for like $12,” Bailey said. “I think that’s a unique thing here in Kent, if you don’t want to drink (alcohol, or) you don’t want to spend $50 on dinner.”

Beder said the coffee shop offers a social atmosphere for students not looking to hit the bar scene.

“People can come down here and feel that they had a social experience without going to a bar,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with a bar, but you can’t do it seven days a week.”

Bailey said Tree City plans to keep college students a focus in future promotions.

“A lot of (student offers) are going to be event-based, (like) extended or around-the-clock finals hours,” Bailey said. “We’re probably going to institute some sort of rewards system here soon and students will be a part of that. It’s definitely on our radar.”

Bailey said Tree City is still accepting applications. Employees must be 16 years of age or older.

Contact Kelli Fitzpatrick at [email protected].