While the students are away, UND’s campus is undergoing a major facelift. Businesses along University Avenue, like Archives Coffee House, are thinking about how the construction will affect them.
Most of University Avenue is torn up, but the owner of Archives, Kyle Thorson, said he and his business have decided to embrace the changes.
The coffee house has added some kitchen equipment in the hopes of offering more bakery and lunch items.
“It will be a bit of experimentation, but we should have some of the kinks worked out by the time classes start and construction finishes,” Thorson said.
Thorson talked with the Herald this week about the coffee house and the changes it sees throughout the year:
Q: How is operating a coffeehouse on campus different in the summer? Do you have to get creative to bring in a steady revenue with significantly fewer people living around the coffee shop?
A: Campus is definitely a different place in summer – we slow down quite a bit, but we always end up with regulars who stop by to get their daily cup. Our operating hours reduce in the summer, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we try to keep hosting events and doing fun specials over the summer to keep going. One of my favorite parts of summer is that our handmade lemonade and cold brews make a comeback over the winter months – just one of those reminders that summer is here!
Q: How did you start working at Archives?
A: I’m the current owner of Archives Coffee. I purchased the business in June 2016. I also work full-time as a program manager for Amazon. It’s a perfect combination because I can work at the coffee house for my full-time job and still be somewhat present with the baristas. When I took over Archives, I decided to operate it as a social business – which is a fancy way of saying that I’m “for-profit” but use those profits to support local organizations in Grand Forks.
Q: What brought you to Grand Forks? What made you stay?
A: I came to Grand Forks in 2005 to attend undergraduate classes at UND and stayed to also complete my master’s degree in public administration and social business. Grand Forks is a pretty amazing community and I love the people who live here. I think part of the reason that I choose to stay is because it is really easy to become involved and there is a real opportunity to make a difference here compared to a larger city where change tends to happen less quickly. There is a real pull from Amazon to head to Seattle (and I do love it there), but I am lucky enough to be able to live here and still travel frequently to other countries in my role. I can’t imagine anything more perfect: being able to live in a great small city like Grand Forks and still be able to see the world at work.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
A: At the coffee house, I think the most challenging part is trying to stay in touch with the campus life and all its ebbs and flows. The seasonality of campus life does catch up with us sometimes as a business, but it also offers the natural opportunities to partner on major events like orientation or graduation.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The baristas are 100% my favorite part of the day. They are a great crew, really dynamic personalities, and they care about their job. I’m grateful to have such a great team of people who work here and I couldn’t imagine Archives without them. I’ll also add that it’s very beneficial to work at a place that can provide you all the coffee you want – and also very dangerous.