USC Aiken will welcome a Starbucks coffee shop within the next year.
Starbucks – originally opened in 1971 with a single store in Seattle's Pike Place Mart – now serves millions of customers internationally and has more than 19,000 retail stores in more than 60 countries.
Currently, the only other Starbucks in Aiken is located in the Kroger Shopping Center off Whiskey Road.
Jeff Jenik, director of campus support, said due to student interest in other dining options, USCA sought out the popular coffee shop.
“We looked at other businesses that might be a willing partner,” Jenik said. “We actually came across Starbucks with conservations with a bunch of different folks and thought it seemed to be a good fit for us and a good fit for them. So we went ahead and pursued.”
The shop will take the place of a student hangout area located in the Student Activities Center on campus.
Jenik said the campus Starbucks will be traditional, with the typical drink selections and menu options, but also will serve breakfast and lunch items, including sandwiches.
“We're going to have items that will carry through the late night and better help student needs,” Jenik said. “The hours are still being worked on, but they will closely mimic the hours of the building. It would roughly open around 7 a.m. when breakfast in the cafeteria begins and probably be open past 5 p.m.”
Aiken residents will also be able to load up on the caffeine, as the school will build limited short-term parking for those looking to grab a cup of coffee and go.
However, the coffee shop is primarily for students to meet their coffee needs, Jenik said.
Construction has not yet started in the center, but the university is currently going through the bidding process for a construction company to work on trenching of the existing floor and Sheetrock to make the area look more like a storefront.
“We hope to have a fully licensed Starbucks in the Student Activities Center opened in January,” Jenik said. “We're excited for Starbucks to come in, and we know the students are, as well.”
Maayan Schechter is the city reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville.