Written by: Hannah Twietmeyer and Brittany Ross
It’s difficult to imagine what the Barnes Student Center at Indiana Wesleyan University would be without the everyday hustle and bustle surrounding McConn Coffee Co.
The business provides coffee drinks, smoothies, and other snacks and beverages to both the students and faculty of IWU daily. The simple swipe of an ID card can purchase a drink made by a barista in approximately five minutes, but the necessary work that makes McConn – and that spiced chai latte – possible is not often made visible to customers.
The cafe was officially established in the Student Center in 2002, but the McConn legacy stretches back to the days when IWU was Marion College. According to the company’s home page on the school website, the name pays tribute to the longest serving president of this campus, William McConn.
The company hosts a large staff to accommodate the large amount of customers that promote business everyday. According to purchasing manager and barista, Madi Laberdee (so), McConn currently has 50 employees. Laberdee said that her position allows her to work with five other individuals on McConn’s management team to complete all of the “behind the scenes” work.
“As the purchasing manager, I order all the supplies McConn needs, as well as coming up with new products, talking with vendors and improving the quality of the current products that we offer,” Laberdee said. “We have about 50 drinks on our official menu…and we go through about 65 gallons of milk every 1.5 days.”
According to Laberdee, it can be quite difficult to keep up with the ongoing influx of orders while maintaining the supply inventory.
Maddie Short (sr), business development manger, said the five individuals who make up the management team must take turns going on milk runs. She said she gets about 72 gallons.
“We usually go and get roughly this amount every two-three days”, Short said. “(The workers) always stare and ask if I run a day care and then I have to explain it’s for a coffee shop.”
While the cafe works to keep up with customer demand, McConn employs IWU students as baristas and managers to keep things running smoothly. Claire Sandala (sr), both a barista and shift manager, has been working at McConn for four semesters, and has worked with her fair share of classmates.
“It can be difficult sometimes to work with your friends and be their boss at the same time,” Sandala said, “But you do have a family at McConn and it is just a really great atmosphere to work in.”