As a junior in college, Logan Rodgers met with friends once a week to try out different coffee shops. As they made the rounds through Nashville, Logan went the “broke student route,” always ordering a cup of whatever drip coffee was being served up. “I thought I was just saving money, but soon I started noticing ‘this shop’s coffee tastes better to me than that shop’ and that developed into detecting specific flavor notes,” Logan recalls. “We found after awhile that we all agreed CREMA was our preferred shop, so we stopped touring shops and stuck to that one.” In another effort to save money, this weekly ritual transformed into Logan deciding to brew coffee on campus at Trevecca Nazarene University for his friends. He’d bike to CREMA in the morning, buy a bag and head back to school where they would all meet and brew the coffee themselves. “That naturally developed into a desire to brew coffee well, experimenting with how to brew the best cup of coffee. Essentially, my love for coffee really grew out of a love for community.”
Fast forward to the following year - Logan’s senior year at Trevecca. He began working at 1901, the campus coffee shop, which had been around for years under different names, with different missions. “When I came on, we really didn’t have a great rapport with students. In fact, we did a survey and I think somewhere around 30% of students liked us,” Logan reveals. It didn’t remain just a job at a coffee shop for long - Logan soon began to pick up on inconsistencies and gaps between what 1901 was doing and where the industry was going. As he shared his passions for the business direction of 1901, it became clear that he had drive and a desire to see 1901 as “more than a campus coffee shop.” An entrepreneurship class during his senior year led Logan to craft a proposal for the future of 1901 and he didn’t hesitate to think big. “I started with the largest goals in mind - become a specialty coffee shop, roast our own coffee and distribute it to other Nazarene universities around the country. I even proposed that we utilize the global student trips that are already in place (‘TAG trips’ - Trevecca Around The Globe) and take students to origin to meet farmers and see the coffee industry up close. Urban farmers, media students, baristas would all be able to benefit from those relationships and take back something to add to their education.”
Logan was offered the position as manager of 1901 upon graduating and has since been taking small steps to grow the cafe in the direction he once dreamed it would go. “We want to be considered more than a campus coffee shop, but actually as a specialty coffee shop - this is why we brought in CREMA coffee. Our students already have a relationship with CREMA and they love that we’re taking it to the next step. We want to be more than a quick commodity and instead be an event space, a safe space, a music scene. We are also closely tied in with student development and want to continue to do whatever we can to serve the students.” Logan explains that one of the major benefits of being a part of a university is the overflow of resources at their fingertips via the students. Whether accessing the marketing department or media team, employing students to create merchandise, calling upon business students to manage inventory, it can all be done simply by seeking out students who want experience and internships. This means that whenever he is hiring new employees, Logan’s screening process is to get to know the students - to ask questions and see how creative and entrepreneurial they are. “I talk to them about their major, their passions and then from there ask them ‘Where does this apply in 1901?’” Whenever I go into a job my goal is to leave it better than when I came and I encourage others to adopt that mindset.
The entrepreneurial mindset Logan has encouraged to flourish among his employees made 1901 a hot commodity among ”iWork” participants, Trevecca’s work study program. Any undergraduate student who wants to enroll in an on-campus job is automatically enrolled in the program and their work goes directly to paying off loans. Logan is unashamed in the incredible opportunities he thinks 1901 can offer to iWork students: “I’ll go on the record as saying we definitely offer the coolest jobs within iWork, compared to more conventional work study options.” Beyond the “cool factor,” Logan insists that since the focus is to give students real-world experience, they are able to find that at 1901. Whether they go out into the real world and need a part-time barista job as musicians or they want to spend a year working on the brand identity of the company and share those results with a future employer, Logan is quick-at-the-draw when it comes to listing the multitude of opportunities they offer students.
With 1901’s forward trajectory and the creative use of students’ unique strengths and passions, Logan’s vision for 1901 to be “more than just a campus coffee shop” takes on layers upon layers of meaning. Stop by and see it for yourself! They may be on a college campus, but 1901 is open to the public and sharing CREMA coffee with any and all who come by.
Photography by Abigail Lewis