The Lair Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop offers real-world opportunities

Story by sophomore Olivia Rizza, 21st Century Journalism student
Last year Halstead High School decided to put in a small coffee shop in the library. During its first year, The Lair offered coffee drinks, smoothies and snacks before school every day.
For the Gemini II School Redesign launch year, the cafe has been revamped. Teacher Allison O’Brien runs the cafe with help from many students. The Lair is open from 7:40-10:30 a.m. during the school day, but eventually they’re hoping to have it open more.
There are a lot of difficulties to running a shop like this, O'Brien said.
“Trying to keep up with demand is challenging because it changes all the time," O'Brien said. "I don’t want to over order and have food expire but we’re running out of a lot of things. Kids also don’t realize the products have to meet nutrition guidelines, like sizes, sugar content and being whole grain.”
The Lair is doing well right now, even though it’s still in the early stages.
“We’re making, on average, a couple hundred dollars a week," O'Brien said. "I want to be able to continue to buy things. Eventually I want to get a frozen yogurt machine but they’re about $5,000.”
Right now profit is going only to restocking costs, but when The Lair really gets off the ground O’Brien hopes to offer scholarship opportunities to those who help run the cafe or students going into business as a career.
Lots of students have been volunteering to work at The Lair as Flex Time was introduced to the schedule. Junior Brittley Day enjoys helping behind the counter.
“I think my communication skills have gotten better since I started working,” Day said.
Day says getting to interact with the student body so much is a good change. The most popular drink she makes is the strawberry banana smoothie.
“Mrs. O'Brien asked me to start working there and I agreed not knowing what it would be, but I’m glad I joined,” Day said.
With new seasonal flavors, there's something for everyone. Sophomore Amaan Maknojia said he goes there once or twice a week.
“I go there for the smoothies," Maknojia said. "My favorites are the four berry smoothies. I wish the drinks were bigger for the price and I think they should have more foods, like chocolate muffins.”
Overall The Lair is off to a good start this year and O’Brien says she hopes it keeps getting better.
(Pictured: Senior Adam Glassco; Photo by Alton Speer)