Professors Pub offers free coffee, anytime

Carolyn B. Fertig

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Professors Pub is offering free coffee to everyone, every day.

“We are trying to give back to the city of Kent as a thank you,” owner Brad Powell said. “We are going to give it away in hopes that people will stop in, see what we are like, and stay for some food.”?

The restaurant has been in Kent since 2007, offering a variety of foods and beverages that focuses on supporting local businesses and local clients, said Powell, a 2003 graduate. ?

The current state of the economy has caused many businesses in Kent to suffer, and some places are trying anything to bring more business into their shops; this is where he said the promotion of free coffee comes into play. ?

Powell chose a local brand, KC Coffee, which is roasted in Akron.

Carter Bailey, owner of KC Coffee, said he understands the current economy and the predicament Professors Pub and many places around Kent and the nation overall, are facing.?

“More people are eating in,” Bailey said. “They are eating at home instead of going out to eat; that’s why many businesses are suffering.”?

Powell said normally they are able to make up for a drop in sales during the summer when students are not around; however, this year, students are not going out as often because of money issues.

“We are coming off summer, where sales are next to nothing,” he said, “and it’s the same thing over Christmastime. If this business was in a place that was more self-containing year-round, it would be easier. But there is an advantage to having the students here.”?

Bailey said he hopes that his coffee will bring more people into the pub. Bags of coffee beans will be sold at Professors Pub in mid-October, he said.?

“I have a strong following in Kent that like my coffee,” he said, “in hope it helps (Powell’s) business and thus, will help my business.”?

The free coffee is more than an invitation to get more people into the pub – it’s to help keep the pub in business, Powell said.?

“At this point honestly, it’s about saving jobs,” he said. “We are not terribly busy right now. I just want to keep this place open, to keep employing students and people in Kent. Because if we are not supported, I am going to have to cut half my staff, and we will go away like other businesses in Kent.”?

Powell said it was difficult to start up his own business in Kent and then maintain that property.

“I moved into the cornerstone of Kent, with a landlord that was unwilling to do anything – anything,” he said. “I invested a significant amount of my capital into improving the electric, water, the fa‡ade, everything that was on me.

“That’s one of the hurdles that Kent will have in a couple of years; there are four or five landlords, whether or not they want to reinvest in their properties or not.”

Ron Burbick, president of RLB Phoenix Properties, a development company that recently opened Acorn Alley, said Kent is a typical college town. Because of this, Kent has not been hit by the recession as much as other places in the U.S.

?”The main industry in Kent is the university,” Burbick said. “We are fortunate that we do not depend on car factories; we depend on the students spending their money, and though they may not be spending as much, they still are spending.”?

Contact features correspondent Carolyn B. Fertig at [email protected]