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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Starbucks to open its doors Oct. 1

Monday, October 1, 2007  
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By Alison Roberts

Buzz is growing on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University about the school’s most recent construction project.

Students, faculty and visitors to campus can now get their caffeine fix from the Seattle-based coffee chain, Starbucks, without going far.

The franchise is within walking distance of the campus, located next to the McDonald’s at the corner of Memorial Road and Bryant.

Given the proximity to campus, General Manager Dennis Gothard hopes to provide a venue for students to get off campus without going far.

“I’m really excited to open this location,” Gothard said. “I want this store to be a great place for students to hang out.”

Students who stop in at any time of the day are likely to spot a familiar face. Gothard hired nine Oklahoma Christian students to work as baristas in the store.

Jacob Cowdin, a junior at Oklahoma Christian, began working at Starbucks this month and will transfer to the new location when it opens its doors on Oct. 1.

“It’s a really laid-back environment to work in,” Cowdin said.

It is this laid-back atmosphere, Gothard hopes will attract students to his store. Long hours, 5:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30 a.m. until 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, make emergency caffeine runs a possibility.

Gothard is looking into booking live music on Friday and Saturday nights for lengthier store visits.

The location is part of a greater umbrella of properties owned and managed by the school’s investment company, Oklahoma Christian Investment Corporation. Executive Vice President Al Branch said Starbucks and the investment corporation worked together to construct the new location.

“The representatives of Starbucks approached our investment company,” Branch said.

Oklahoma Christian currently owns both the land and the building, which are valued at $68 million. They plan to sell the property to an outside investor in October when the store opens. The university will reinvest proceeds from the sale in the total endowment fund.

“The property values of all investments are included in the total sum of the school’s endowment,” Branch said.

Oklahoma Christian Investment Corporation manages properties throughout the Oklahoma City area and is continually working to expand their investments. Outside investors are currently seeking the remaining property behind Phase VI, next to Starbucks.

“The entire south side of the Phase VI apartments past the fence is zoned for commercial use,” Branch said.

Any future profits from land development will contribute to the endowment. Oklahoma Christian uses interest earned by the endowment to fund overhead costs. This year, the university included 5 percent of the profit in the budget and reinvested in the endowment fund.

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