Student-owned Dreamer Coffee Shop hopes to open in August
International graduate student and business major Ike Han is a dreamer. His ultimate aspiration is to open a coffee house, and the soon-to-be-opened Dreamer Coffee Shop is the incarnation of that dream.
If all goes according to plan, Han hopes that his ambitious coffee shop will be open some at the end of August.
“We want the best quality coffee and service in Mount Pleasant,” he said. “I think the competition (from Kaya) is good for me. If there’s only one coffee shop, I can’t use what I’m learning in school.”
Han’s shop, which took over the vacant University Cup location, 1027 S. Franklin St., will be a unique addition to his American experience. Soft-spoken and a man of few words, the Central Michigan University student from China and a part-time staff photographer for Central Michigan Life, said it’s difficult to open a businesses like a coffee shop in his home country.
“People don’t really drink coffee there,” Han said.
Renovations are being made inside 1027 S. Franklin Street as Ike Han, a graduate student from China, works to open his dream: his own coffee shop. After the University Cup officially closed in August of last year, Han learned of this open building opportunity through a friend. He contacted the property owner and set up rent for the space. Then Han went through the Interior Design department at CMU, which led him to Carol Sobieski-Gall, a Central Michigan graduate and professional interior designer, to help him with redesigning the building.
(Taryn Wattles | Staff Photographer)
When a friend told Han about the vacant storefront, the business student jumped on the opportunity. With the help of his family back in China, Han rented the space and started interior renovations in May.
“It’s been a lot of planning,” he said. “We started ripping things up. It’s been a good journey.”
Keeping everything as local as he can, Han said he’s getting his beans from a Grand Rapids roaster and his pastries that he’ll sell as tasty accessories from a Michigan vendor. Even the interior design work was done with help from the CMU community.
Carol Sobieski-Gall, a fixed-term faculty member in the Human Environmental Studies department, has been helping Han renovate the house on Franklin Street. She also owns the Shepherd-based Creative Interiors design firm.
Han said he called the interior design department seeking assistance with his renovations and the department recommended Sobieski-Gall.
The shop has since received a complete overhaul. Walls that were once dark purple and orange are now stark-white. The previously black and white checkered floor was replaced by hardwood.
Sobieski-Gall said the changes add a level of warmth to the building.
“We went for a sandy brown floor to remind people of Florida,” she said. “If you’re looking for a place to warm up in the winter, this will be it.”
Sydney Daly, an intern working with Sobieski-Gall and a Grand Blanc senior, said she’s enjoyed her time working with Han on this project.
“This has been really helpful,” Daly said. “It’s been good hands-on experience. Getting from the planning stages to seeing the progression of the building is exciting.”
The menu at The Dreamer Coffee Shop has yet to be determined, but Han said he’ll feature the usual coffee shop fare, including espresso drinks and coffees. He’s also planning on bringing bubble tea products to the area.
While the menu is still in the works, Han has one particular menu item already mapped out in his mind. Once open, the shop will sell a drink named after Josie Seebeck, a CMU women’s soccer player who died in a car accident in August 2013.
“(Her teammates) said U-Cup was their favorite place to do homework,” Han said. “She was a great artist, too. We’‘ll show some of her artwork here, too.”
Han said he is hoping to partner with other students and local artists to sell some of their work at the new shop.
Opening the shop will be a bit of a trial by fire for Han, but it’s just step forward to his caffeinated target.
“It’s been kind of hard to open my first business in a foreign country,” he said. “There’s lots of limitations. I want it to be a bright place where people want to come.”
Check back with cm-life.com for more on this story.
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