Coffee shop serves with ‘cozy charm’

The non-greek fraternity and sorority Campus Journey opened the coffee shop.

At one end of a warmly lit room, students gathered around a fireplace, sprawled out on couches and discussed the day’s events.

Near them, framed by a large bay window, a solitary customer was studying while she enjoyed her coffee.

The managers of Bordertown Coffee said they hope the place’s “cozy charm” will attract customers, but they also hope to accomplish more.

Bordertown Coffee is the first incarnation of the nonprofit group Campus Journey. The organization, recognized by the University as a non-greek fraternity and sorority,

is working for social justice and interfaith cooperation between the University’s diverse religious groups, members said.

The coffee shop is located in the former Theta Chi fraternity house, which is on 16th and University avenues southeast.

Although Campus Journey is a Christian group, employee Matt Wingard downplays the connection.

“We’re fighting the stereotypes right now and trying to rebuild on a foundation of faith and love,” he said.

Bordertown Manager Dan Armstrong said he feels it is important to provide students with an alternative to the chain coffee stores.

“All the major chains are moving to a more pragmatic, grab-and-go approach,” he said. “But you’re catering to something that goes way beyond pragmatism. This is part of people’s lives.”

Campus Journey members said they purchased the old fraternity house to give their shop a cozier feel.

“You’re talking about a 100 percent public venue,” Wingard said.

He said the venue “always has an open door” and patrons can read, talk and do as they please.

“A ‘No Loitering’ sign would be the opposite of who we are,” he said.

Spanish junior Molly Slovnik said, “It’s super comfortable. Everything’s soft and squishy, and they have a fireplace too.”

Kyrie Coleman, a physiology junior, said she liked the atmosphere and quietness of the shop.

“A group of friends and I decided it’s the place to study now,” she said.

But Wingard said the shop’s atmosphere isn’t always so laid back.

“On Friday nights, we have standing acoustic shows,” he said. “Then, it’s a totally different environment. You’re not getting any studying done.”

The Friday night performances highlight another goal of the shop.

“We want to make this place a hub in the local arts community,” Wingard said.

He said they hope to feature full bands soon and are also searching for local artists to decorate the white walls.

Armstrong said that whether it’s coffee or art, the focus isn’t about making money.

“It’s so nice not to be a part of the corporate world,” Armstrong said. “People aren’t a means to an end – they are the end.”