The smell of coffee is wafting through the halls of Chagrin Falls High School thanks to the opening of the new Tiger Perk last week.
Profits from the student-run coffee shop will be going to a newly established enterprise fund, Chagrin Exempted Village School District Treasurer Ashley Brudno told school board members last week. The fund was approved by the school board and is pending state approval.
“Everyone has been very supportive of that project as we’ve kind of evolved in the last 24 months,” said Superintended Robert Hunt of the work that went into opening the shop officially last week.
Tiger Perk’s new location is next to the commons area of the high school and includes both the shop and an area for coffee drinkers to gather. The $113,500 project creating the new space allows for more storage and preparation areas, as the shop will now accept both walk-up and online orders. Between 15 and 20 students work at the shop that serves iced or hot coffee and tea, hot chocolate and bagels. Drink prices start at $1.25 with bagels $1.50 each. Tiger Perk is open on school days from 7:40 to 9:30 a.m.
Tiger Perk will be open to high school seniors on Monday and other students in the coming weeks.
The district plans to offer business and other classes that link to the Tiger Perk experience.
The idea for a coffee delivery service formed in 2017 through the support of Tiger Prep, which is a parent organization that supports programming for students who have learning differences. Initially, the shop was open just twice a week.
Tiger Perk has since developed into a full-fledged student-run coffee shop at the high school each school day and offers pre-vocational job skills training for students in grades seven through 12.
As Tiger Perk first began, student workers delivered online orders to high school, middle school and intermediate school faculty and staff. They were also at work behind the scenes, restocking supplies, cleaning the prep area, taking inventory and balancing the billing process.
The program teaches students with learning differences language arts standards through customer interactions as well as math through the financial components of the shop, school officials said. Students learn communication skills and gain a sense of accomplishment and pride working at the shop, officials said.
“People would ask ‘how are the kids?’” Mr. Hunt said of the opening day. “You could just tell a general sense of pride [from the kids]. I look forward to not only that program continuing, but now the possibilities of adding other curriculum and integration within that space.”
Last year, S&D Capital Financial Advisors in Chagrin Falls donated $500 to Chagrin Falls Schools to kick-start the coffee shop construction. Since then, Chagrin Falls PTO has given up to $40,000 on an as-needed basis, the Chagrin Falls Educational Foundation and the Educational Foundation Student Board gave $13,808, the Tiger Prep group gave $25,000 and the Boosters gave $15,000. The total cost for the project was $113,500, and Millstone Management Group and London Road Electric donated their services.