Student-run coffee company opens after a ‘latte’ collaboration

Students of the St. Louis Catholic High School Entrepreneurship II class have developed a new local coffee company.

SLCHS Coffee Co. was founded by two students, Brooklyn Jones and Pierce Simien, who took Entrepreneurship I during their junior year and decided to take their business idea to the next level.

The pair took the skillsets they developed in their junior year and applied them to the development of SLCHS Coffee Co. The lessons he and Jones learned in Entrepreneurship II fully encompass the skills and foundational principles that are needed to run a successful business, Simien said.

Jones said the tangible experience of creating a business was eye-opening.

“The process of making this company has completely changed my perception about being an entrepreneur,” she said. “I love working with others to create such an amazing product.”

She proposed the idea, and Simien agreed it was a sound business idea.

“Everyone loves coffee,” he said.

The Entrepreneurship II was created to bring SLCHS Coffee Co. to life, he explained. He wrote a proposal for the new class. It was an “interesting and exciting process.” After numerous presentations to the administration and students, and testing days with the faculty and staff, the class was approved.

SLCHS Business Teacher Ashley Lavine said she is proud of her students for their enthusiasm, self-motivation and innovation.

“They took off with this business.”

The community has been very supportive, he noted. They hosted three events to sell coffee. At SLCHS Grandparents Day in April, they sold over 90 bags of coffee.

Their business investor is Shadi Abrusley, owner of Southwest Marketing & Distribution, LLC, and they use two different Louisiana roasters: Warehouse Coffee Roasters in Sulphur and Black Bayou Coffee Roasters in Shreveport.

The coffee company will be a longstanding institution at SLCHS, Lavine said. Future Entrepreneurship II students will maintain (and hopefully expand) the business in the coming years.

SLCHS Coffee Co. sells four whole-bean coffee roasts: medium, dark, decaf and NOLA chicory. The medium, dark and decaf roasts are $14 a bag, while the NOLA chicory roast is $15 a bag.

The coffee can be bought in-store at Oasis Foods, 2222 Kirkman St, or online at www.goshopvirtual.com.

Simien said he will keep in touch with Lavine and Abrusley, and hopes to bring the company to Lafayette since he is attending the University of Louisiana in Lafayette in the fall.

He said he will apply the entrepreneurial skills he developed at SLCHS to his future veterinary practice.

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