The 2019-20 academic school year marks Java Junction’s 16th year of operation, and the new year began with the creation of a new managerial position, as well as the introduction of a second coffee shop on campus.
Jonah Yoder, a Goshen College graduate of 2019, has begun the new role as operations manager of Java Junction.
Yoder’s role is an “experimentary” one, according to Michelle Horning, professor of accounting and Java Junction program director. The position came about after Horning was scheduled to take on Andrew Hartzler’s classes following his departure to Ecuador as the Study-Service Term leader.
While Horning planned to continue implementing the academic side of the class, she needed someone to take on the practical side of running Java.
“Bringing in Jonah was a practical necessity in me trying to brainstorm how I can do this extra work,” Horning said. “If the refrigerator stops working, he solves that problem and I don't have to. Or employees need extra training, he works with the team to figure out how to get that done.”
Yoder’s previous experience at Java contributed to him securing the role. He spent the fall semester of his senior year in the Java management class, and the second working there as an intern. During this time, he also worked at Anna’s Bread, a local bakery, where he is now a full-time employee.
“The timing was perfect,” Horning said. “He’s graduated, so he’s not a peer in the same way, and he works in food service and he loves food service and so there was tons of reasons why he would be the perfect person.”
In addition to the new management role, Java is now preparing to take on a more saturated market with Starbucks opening a shop on campus.
The Seattle-based company can now be found in the newly remodeled Leaf Raker, offering iced coffee, frappuccinos, lattes and refreshers. Horning acknowledges that the location of the business will have an edge in appealing to commuter students.
“Java’s located in a part of campus that commuter students don’t have any reason to go to.” Horning said. “They’re absolutely welcome but there’s no classes over there, they don’t live there and so that's always been our challenge.”
However, Horning is confident that Java can retain its current customer base through its adaptability to consumer needs. The team have already discussed plans to add grab and go snack items such as chips and granola bars, after listening to student feedback.
“Product-wise, there are things that we offer that Starbucks doesn’t,” Horning said. “For three years, nearly every week, milkshakes has been the top seller at Java Junction.”
It is clear that Starbucks will have an impact on Java, but as of yet, the extent of which is unknown.
Nevertheless, Horning, Yoder and the Java management class are confident in the uniqueness of Java and the business plan in which they operate on.