HATTIESBURG - Visiting
The University of Southern Mississippi Thursday to ponder a potential
transfer, University of South Alabama student Charlotte Gadilhe
searched in vain for a Starbucks Coffee while in Hattiesburg.
Imagine her surprise when she stopped by the Southern
Miss library to find employees busily readying a Starbucks Coffee
Shop for its Monday opening.
"When I came in the building and saw it, I couldn't
believe it. We don't have anything like this where I go to school,"
said Gadilhe, thumbing through a university class schedule guide
near the exterior of the recently installed coffee shop. "I
drove up and down Highway 49 when I got to Hattiesburg looking for
Students returning to Southern Miss next week will
have that and much more in store, as two of the hottest commodities
on campus - food and parking spaces - are expanding in supply. In
addition to Starbucks, an Einstein Bros. Bagels is opening on the
ground floor of the new International Studies Building. Also, the
former site of West Building Supplies on West Fourth Street is now
a parking lot, where 400 new parking spaces will become available
"It will be open-zone parking and will help alleviate
some of the parking crunch associated with the ongoing construction
on campus," Mike Mitchell, assistant dean of students, said.
Managers from both Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagel
Co. launched "soft openings" for faculty and staff Friday.
Both businesses expect to be in full swing early next week.
The Southern Miss Starbucks, which will employ about
25 people, including students, is the largest in the state, according
to Pat Foley, resident district manager with Southern Miss Dining
Services. A fully licensed Starbucks, the coffee shop will offer
a full beverage menu, along with assorted pastries.
On Thursday, employees from both stores were putting
the finishing touches on the interiors, stocking goods and completing
training. Starbucks employees are required to complete one week
of classroom training, followed by one week of in-store training
with an emphasis on a technique they call "legendary training."
"There's basic service, which is like, 'Thank
You' and "Hi, how are you?' and then there's 'legendary' service,
where the employee really takes the time to get to know the customer,"
said Starbucks manager Theresa Mack, a 15-year employee of Southern
Miss who graduated with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
"As much time as many of the students spend in
the library, we want to make them feel like they're in a home-away-from-home
when they're in here," Mack said.
Einstein Bros. Bagels offers a different kind of dining
experience. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (7:15 a.m.-6:30
p.m.) Monday through Thursday, and for breakfast and lunch on Friday
(7:15 a.m.-2:30 p.m.), Einstein Bros. Bagels features an eclectic
menu, using only the freshest ingredients. While it offers sandwiches,
coffee, and snacks like fresh fruit, its claim to fame is - you
guessed it - bagels.
"These bagels - there's nothing else like them
in Hattiesburg," said Bob Lowe, Director of Food Service at
Southern Miss. "People aren't real sure what to expect, but
they're very excited (about the opening)."