Entrepreneurial ventures are alive and well at LCS. Earlier this year, some of our Grade 12 students launched LCS Eats
(a local version of UberEats) and more recently, a group of students created a lunchtime specialty coffee business to provide the LCS community with delicious beverages throughout the week.
On their opening day, the coffee shop was flooded with eager customers – LCS staff and students were ready to get their caffeine fix. What better way to quench their cravings than by supporting a student-run business?
Ryosuke Togawa ’21, Joe Huang ’21, and Jeff Zheng ’21 offer more than your standard coffee shop. Their menu features unique blends from around the world with interesting flavour profiles, such as honey, strawberry, rose, white peach, lemon, lavender, and nectarine.
We spoke to Ryosuke ’21 to learn more about this new enterprise.
How did you decide to open a coffee shop?
The whole idea started when I entered Joe’s room during the winter break. The room was filled with a delicious coffee smell. Then I realized how much I missed coffee for the past couple of months. This year, students and staff didn’t have access to the coffee machine from the dining hall and the staff room [for health and safety reasons].
It was my morning and lunch routine to get a cup of coffee from the coffee machine. So, I started to talk to students and staff and I saw a huge demand for coffee. We hosted a Sunday Sunshine activity in February and received many positive comments. We then got the “green light” from Mr. Runza (LCS Head of Safety), we decided to open on March 30. The driving force in the whole process was to share Joe’s dedication and passion for coffee with our community.
What have you learned from running a small business so far?
I learned that to start a business, preparation is everything. We talked to many students and staff for their suggestions. We calculated the cost and estimated revenue to at least maintain the supplies (coffee beans and milk) for the next day. We had great success on the first day, however, it would not have been possible without help from Mr. Runza, the dining hall staff, Mr. Dott, Mr. Hart, and all the customers who came to the shop to support us.
When we spoke with Ryosuke ’21 about his goal with the coffee shop, he said his team hopes to inspire student entrepreneurs. As a founder of The Language Club, Ryosuke felt comfortable pitching a new idea among his peers and LCS faculty. However, he recognizes that other students may not have the same confidence to try something new. He wants this coffee shop to remind students that LCS is a supportive community where taking risks is not only encouraged but applauded.
We’re inspired by Ryosuke, Jeff, and Joe’s confidence to act as leaders in their community. The next time you need a cup of joe, stop by their coffee stand in the courtyard!