When it comes to local Quad City businesses, getting Augustana students to leave the “bubble” and try new places is one of the biggest challenges local business owners and government leaders are facing.
However, one Moline coffee shop seems have figured out the art of attracting students as both regular customers and satisfied employees.
Milltown Coffee, situated facing the Mississippi River offers a scenic view of the historic and beautiful waterfront. Inside, warm friendly employees, and a wood-burning fireplace greet customers who visit to escape stress and focus in on homework while enjoying a cup of their signature coffee.
When it comes to it’s unique draw of college students, Part-Owner Cameron Cartee said that he believes its a clean combination of “good product, great staff, and atmosphere.”
When it comes to this particular spot, Augustana sophomore, and Miltown regular Luke Stoefen says Milltown offers more than just a view.
“The coffee is different from what I am used too.” said Stoefen
Cartee, whose mother started the business said that the quality of the coffee is something they are very proud of. Milltown coffee is provided by a Peoria based company, Thirty-Thirty Coffee.
According to Cartee, Thirty-Thirty Coffee Company was named 3rd best espresso in America.
“It is the highest quality coffee around here” said Cartee.
Cartee also said that their “Milltown made” or homemade latte syrups attract locals on a unique basis.
Augustana junior Haylee Walker, who works at Milltown agrees.
“There’s really nothing like it in the Quad Cities,” said Walker. “Their coffee is fantastic.”
Walker thinks it is their product, such as the “perfectly roasted” coffee and the menu offerings that separates this local shop from a chain coffee shop such as the popular Starbucks Coffee.
Cartee said that part-owner Jason Gomez, who is the executive chef at Davenport’s Outing Club, completely designed the unique menu and recipes.
Milltown has also had success in drawing in young local students as employees.
“There’s a total of four of us that work there. It’s a really nice place to work. I have worked at other jobs, and I stress about school when I’m there and when I’m there I don’t stress about school. They’re very flexible with the hours…” said Walker.
Cartee said that the proximity in age between management and staff most likely plays a large role in this successful environment.
“I think it has a lot to do with the management staff. Myself and 2 other managers- were pretty close with some of the augie students.” said Cartee.
Walker said it is something that is noticed by all of the student workers.
“There’s two general managers and they’re only a couple of years older than me, so a lot of the staff is around the same age group. So, we have really good communication and everyone understands each other really well. So we work really well together as a team and its just a really good environment.” said Walker.
In addition to the four Augustana students who work there, there are two Augustana alumni on Milltown’s employee roster.
Arguably the most prominent feature of Milltown coffee is its ambiance.
Step into the brick room filled with warm wooden colors and tall ceilings, big study spaces surrounding the fireplace, and listen to the calming music playing throughout the building. Suddenly, the scene is set for a perfect study date.
Modern touches, such as the I-pad cash register and cool light designs also catch customers attention.
“ You walk in and it’s got a cool modern feel to it. Right off the bat you’re like visually pleased and then you kind of walk up to the counter and you’re greeted by whoever is working that day and you’re automatically just welcomed furthered in,” said Stoefen.
The entire side of the building which looks over the Mississippi River is made of tall, ceiling high glass windows that provide a view that cannot be ignored.
“Coming in here is a great experience. Milltown is kind of a destination place, it is somewhere you seek out to go and come back,” said Cartee.
A coffee shop unlike most in the Quad Cities area, this local hot spot seems to have provided the perfect escape from campus for Augustana students.
When asked to describe Milltown in just one word, after a short pause and some deep thinking, Cartee said, “Great, and the reason why its great is because its great for the view , great for the ambiance, we have great customers that come in, and great staff.”
You can find out more about Milltown Coffee by visiting www.milltowncoffee.com.
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