For many students, it’s the first stop in the morning.
In the early hours, when one steps inside Queen’s Coffee House, they’re likely to see a line of students. They blink at the menu and begin placing orders: cappuccinos, hot chocolates, a toasted blueberry muffin. Classes start in 10 minutes, but they all need a quick pick-me-up before making the trek to class.
Or maybe it’s late afternoon, and students are looking for something to carry them through the rest of the day, like a cold-brewed iced coffee or the cheese danishes that glisten in the display. It’s less busy than before, with customers milling about or chatting softly in the seating area. And Tycises Harper is there to serve them.
Harper, a Starbucks corporate partner and supervisor of Queens’ Coffee House, revels in the fact she has a free range of not completing the schematics of a Starbucks business.
“Here, it’s smooth sailing,” Harper said about the work environment. She described a real Starbucks as having more work, while Queens’ Coffee House has the same products as any other Starbucks but not as much work for employees.
Harper moved to Charlotte from Queens, New York. Though she previously worked at the Starbucks in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, she relishes working here at Queens due to how welcoming the environment is.
“I liked it here a little bit better,” Harper said, mentioning the “welcoming feel” the campus brings. “In the airport, everything is fast-paced, and you gotta be high-volume all day long.”
When she isn’t working, Harper can be found in the kitchen, mixing the batter, rolling fondant, and creating elaborate custom cakes as part of her business. One of her intricate works included a two-layer cake with lipsticks made from fondant.
“I like to keep myself occupied,” Harper said. “I like to decorate. I like anything with parties, hands-on. That’s me.”
Coffee itself is a common way to stay awake and push through those early classes. For its part,
The Coffee House is most known for its convenient location and its role in helping students recharge when they need it most.
When asked about her views of the Coffee House, Marla Priester said since she is a commuter student, she often doesn’t feel the need to go but does when she is in desperate need of a pick-me-up.
“At times it [coffee house] feels congested. I never really understood how people did work in there,” said Priester.“Overall, I love the customer service and [the] environment is very friendly.”
For Ali Elribie, the Coffee House has also made a lasting impression on him. He used to be a member of the food service team and still remembers what he liked most about the position.
“I like the people,” he said. “Envision the feeling for which you accomplished someone’s day by serving something as simple as coffee.” Elribie saw the Queens family daily and knew them on both a personal and professional level.
The Queens Coffee House holds a quintessential place on campus. On any particular afternoon, one is bound to hear students laughing together over drinks, or Tycises Harper calling out someone’s order. It’s a reminder of how important this place is in drawing the Queens community together.
Written by Jeannette Jones and Jessica Higgins