Van Zee delivers cups of joy

L-S sixth-grader Evan Van Zee and his crew of helpers are making the end of the work week brighter and better for Hawk staff members through Friday morning deliveries of hot and cold beverages. Evan’s Coffee Shop started off small this school year but has quickly grown by faithful customers who look forward to Evan’s cheerful demeanor just as much as they do the morning jolt of caffeine he delivers.

Evan’s Coffee Shop, originally known as the Hawk Coffee Shop, was sparked by a coffee shop Special Education Teacher Mrs. Abby Lanke observed at another school. She presented the idea at L-S, and soon, Evan’s Coffee Shop became a reality. The venture started off small, serving just elementary teachers and staff. However, word got around about the fabulous Friday morning treat, and soon Evan had customers in the elementary, middle school, and high school.

Evan is ready to roll with his mobile coffee shop during a Friday morning run delivering treats to his faithful patrons, L-S staff members.

“We thought his coffee shop would help create opportunities to practice effective communication to the staff of L-S, as well as be a great way to develop money concepts,” said Mrs. Grace Smalley, Evan’s associate who helps him every step of the way.

As soon as Evan arrives on Friday mornings, he and Mrs. Smalley start prep work for the 25-30 orders they receive on a typical Friday. Coffee is brewing by 8 a.m., and the other drinks are prepared. Mrs. Smalley reports it usually takes a half hour to get the first set of orders ready, and the duo is usually done by 9:45-10 a.m. Evan’s Coffee Shop serves a variety of hot and cold beverages. They even have specialty drinks such as hot apple cider in the winter and are contemplating adding a flavored lemonade to their menu for the spring months. All profit earned from the Friday morning sales goes back into the fund to pay for coffee shop items. Even tips, which Evan earns occasionally, go right back into the fund.

Many hands make the Evan’s Coffee Shop a success – Mrs. Jill Schuring, one of Evan’s special education teachers, sends out emails to staff with order forms on Thursdays, and she also helps with deliveries. Mrs. Smalley assists Evan with prep, clean-up, and product ordering work and also helps deliver high school staff orders. Evan received a marketing boost when Mrs. Cathy Fraker, lunch secretary, made custom Tshirts for Evan to wear on Fridays. And then there are Evan’s faithful customers who keep the sixth grader in business and look forward to their regular Friday morning treat each week.

Evan stands near Mr. Leigh Hornbuckle, high school special education teacher. Hornbuckle has a clear view from his classroom to see Evan delivering each Friday morning and is a regular patron of Evan’s Coffee Shop. Evan wears his custom T-shirts on business days, thanks to the creativity of Mrs. Cathy Fraker.

Communication, customer service, product management, and math skills are just a few of the important lessons Evan has worked on and developed this year through his coffee shop venture. However, nothing compares to the happiness and satisfaction Evan gets from bringing a smile to staff members’ face each Friday. “Evan LOVES doing the coffee shop,” said Mrs. Smalley. “Evan is always saying, ‘This is awesome,’ or ‘Today was a good day’ at the end of each Friday.”

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