From the ground up: After pandemic closed college town's lone coffee shop, students get involved

The Campus Grounds lot is nestled between a tranquil pond and the roaring road. The only coffee shop in Buckner closed down during the pandemic and the owners put it up on the market.

Click here for updates on this story

    BUCKNER, Missouri (KCTV) -- The sprawling campus off highway 24 is hard to miss. The Campus Grounds lot is nestled between a tranquil pond and the roaring road.

The only coffee shop in Buckner closed down during the pandemic and the owners put it up on the market.

The Fort Osage Career and Technology Center in Independence saw an opportunity to turn coffee grounds into liquid gold for students.

“This is the best opportunity for me to get to help students to grow, to get them to expand their opportunities for their future,” said Fort Osage Career and Technology Center director Susie Suits. “That’s the thing I appreciate most about what happens for students here. That their opportunities are endless and they’re starting to realize that.”

The shop is completely student run from the ground up.

“I really like the hands on experience rather than just sitting at a desk and learning about it.,” said Entrepreneurial studies senior Jayven Khakh. “I like actually being able to do it.”

Suits said the program was looking for a new opportunity for their student entrepreneurs. In years past students have ran their own gift wrapping business at the Independence Mall.

While the pandemic made one family realize their coffee shop was better closed, Fort Osage gave it purpose.

“So it just worked out to be the perfect blend,” Suits said. “It’s amazing to watch when you provide students with an opportunity and how they can take it and then just explode it.”

Corinne Dolan wasn’t working at the shop today, but decided to stop by to get some work done. A drive not often seen inside the traditional classroom.

“It is 10 times better being in this type of environment, where you actually get to learn and you’re not surrounded by cement walls all day,” Dolan said. “It’s really great.”

Students are responsible for it all, from making coffee to marketing their shop online.

With each passing shift at the shop teachers have noticed a shift in thinking.

“The best part for me is watching my students be excited to come to class every day,” said Entrepreneurial Studies Teacher Whitney Scott. “They’re here, they show up early, they’re ready to go and they just really enjoy being here.”

Students are now advocates for academic change.

“I think that our education system needs to be reformed in the fact that student’s aren’t passionate about anything anymore and this class has really got me passionate, even more than I already was, about marketing,” Dolan said. “I get to do it every day. And learn through doing things and not just staring at a screen or staring at a textbook.”

Scott said the corner coffee shop in this small town has created a community environment for customers and students alike.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

To report an error or typo, email news@komu.com.