Helping Hands takes on coffee shop business


Jacob Maska

The Indian Grounds coffee shop is open every Maroon day from 7:15 to 7:50 a.m.

The addition of the Indian Grounds coffee shop in the library initially started off as an idea generated last year by juniors enrolled in Helping Hands.

“It was just a thought,” Instructor Michelle Thacker said. “We put the idea out to administration and they supported it.”

Junior Camryn Holloway is involved with Helping Hands and has worked at Indian Grounds in the mornings. Holloway said she was excited when she found out that Helping Hands students would be running the business.

“I knew that Helping Hands opening a coffee shop would mean that we would get to interact with students here at Hays High,” Holloway said. “I am not a very social person, but I feel like when we are running the coffee shop, it allows for me to be more social.”

The menu currently includes dark roast and decaf coffee, iced coffee, Starbucks Frappuccinos, hot cocoa, Tazo brand teas in seven different flavors, Twinning brand tea in a chai flavor, and refreshers in three flavors.

Beverages run anywhere from $1 to $3. Creamers are also available two for 25 cents.

According to Thacker, revenue from the coffee shop goes back into the Helping Hands program to fund academic scholarships and the operating expenses of the coffee shop and the Helping Hands bakery.

Thacker said delegating which students work comes down to a rotation.

“The students who are assigned to business are the ones who are assigned to run the coffee shop,” Thacker said. “We rotate six students through the business section of Helping Hands and the rotation changes every two weeks. There are 28 students now.”

One problem that the coffee shop’s student-employees have encountered includes understaffing.

“Sometimes we don’t have as many students as we need,” Holloway said. “But in the end, we work our hardest to please our customers.”

Thacker said that the understaffing issue is the result of students not showing up for their assigned shifts.

“I think that what they are learning is that one person can impact a large group of people when they don’t do what they are supposed to do,” Thacker said.

As of now, the coffee shop is open every Maroon day before school from 7:15 to 7:50 a.m. Holloway hopes that in the future, the coffee shop will be open on both Maroon and Gold days.

“I would change the days we are open,” Holloway said. “We are currently only open on Maroon days and I feel like we should be open every morning before school.”

Despite only being open every other day, Thacker said that the turnout at the coffee shop has exceeded what she had originally anticipated.

“It is much busier than I expected, which is fantastic,” Thacker said. “It has been very well received. We do have some wonderful regular customers and I would love to see new faces in there every single day.”