Campus coffee shop offers savings, student event opportunities

This semester, Jo’s coffee shop on campus has made punch cards available to students. The Customer Appreciation Cards enable students to get a free  drink from the coffee bar after purchasing 10 bar drinks.

Students agree that this development brings an incentive to purchasing coffee at the store. But as of right now, the level of awareness seems relatively low.

“It needs to be more publicized, for sure,” junior Michael Darling said.

Darling also said that this punch card system provides a definite incentive for students to purchase coffee, but since it does not currently apply to products other than bar drinks, he thinks that the punch card system should be expanded to include all coffee shop products.

For students who regularly indulge in caffeine fixes, the punch card system is a welcome addition.

“For people like me who drink coffee religiously, it’s a definite incentive to purchase more coffee,” senior Andrew Weber said. “I didn’t know about it at all, though. At the very least, they should put up flyers or posters, or a small flyer at the register about [the cards].”

With this new development in mind, it is important to note what makes the on-campus Jo’s different from the other locations on South Congress Avenue and Second Street.

Jo’s is another in a line of coffee franchises that have occupied the room at the corner of the Ragsdale building. It replaced Texenza in 2010, and with the new ownership came new features.

“The most striking difference [from Texenza] to me is quality,” Kara Casteel, manager of the on-campus Jo’s and former Texenza employee, said. “We have a higher quality of product in general, and this year we’re now doing the customer appreciation cards. Hopefully we can order some site-specific ones soon.”

At the other Jo’s locations, customers can get 10 percent discounts by using an Austin goLocal card. The St. Edward’s University location equivalent is a 10 percent discount if students use Topper Tender. 

Another difference between the St. Edward’s Jo’s and other Austin locations is that the Jo’s on campus is a college location. Therefore, it has a bit less freedom than the other Jo’s locations in Austin. 

“The South Congress Jo’s is different because it’s not on campus,” Casteel said. “They host a lot of events such as open mic nights and Hot Rod rallies. We want to incorporate some of what they do so that students can enjoy what they have on campus.”

To this end, the St. Edward’s Jo’s makes itself open to any student organization that wants to host an event.

“I want to bring some of the atmosphere of the South Congress Jo’s to St. Edward’s,” Casteel said. “This campus is so conducive to the arts. I want students to feel like this is their coffee shop … I would love to support events.” 

The coffee shop is a popular place for the Penniless Poets event, an opportunity for students to share their poetry with others. 

Occasional open mic nights also find a home at Jo’s. Currently, there are about three to six events hosted at the coffee shop per month, according to Casteel.

Casteel urges any student who wants to host an event to talk to the University Programming Board to arrange logistics. 

For students interested in attending an event, the next open mic night is on Nov. 29.