Jazzman’s, Ben’s Den to be replaced by Starbucks

The smell of freshly brewed coffee will still fill the air of the Napolitan Student Center, but it won’t be from Jazzman’s Cafe and Bakery.

We Proudly Serve, a franchise of Starbucks, will soon replace Jazzman’s and Ben’s Den, the campus convenience store located in the basement of the student center. The college has not officially announced details of the Starbucks store’s opening.

A flyer publicizing Ben’s Den’s closing was posted earlier this month outside the campus convenience store entrance but was removed just days after The Franklin broke the news on Twitter. The flyer had a We Proudly Serve Starbucks logo hinting at “exciting things to come.”

Les Petroff, Franklin College’s Sodexo general manager, confirmed the addition of the We Proudly Serve cafe in an email on June 8.

Sodexo, a popular college dining service, has launched several We Proudly Serve cafes at campuses across the country, including one at Indiana University South Bend.

Andrew Vardell, Indiana University South Bend’s Sodexo general manager, said We Proudly Serve has been successful at the northern Indiana campus—so much so that he wishes he had a larger space for the cafe.

The location offers customers freshly brewed Starbucks coffee, a variety of espresso drinks, Tazo Teas, smoothies, pastries, deli sandwiches and salads. It doesn’t sell all the products from the full Starbucks menu.

Additionally, because the Indiana University South Bend site is licensed through Sodexo, it does not accept Starbucks rewards or gift cards.

Junior Hannah Sharkey, a frequent Starbucks customer, said she will be disappointed if the college’s We Proudly Serve store does not accept her Starbucks gift cards and rewards. That was one reason why she didn’t frequent Jazzman’s—it did not offer a rewards program.

She also said she would have preferred that Ben’s Den remained open for late night snacks and meal replacements.

“I don’t fully understand why Ben’s Den had to close if the Starbucks is only replacing Jazzman’s,” Sharkey said. “I do believe this change shows that the college is listening to the students’ concerns about food and is trying to address our concerns.”

The cafe at Indiana University South Bend does allow students to use meal plan dollars to purchase items. It also offers special promotions during finals week.

No details have been confirmed on whether Franklin College students will be allowed to use Ben Bucks at the location.

While junior Holly Short said this may be a financially beneficial move for the college, she doesn’t think it will have the turnout they expect. She said she worries about the location taking away business from local shops like Benjamin’s Coffeehouse, a hot spot for several students and faculty members located in downtown Franklin.

“I think many students went to Benjamin’s over Jazzman’s due to service, atmosphere and dining dollar availability,” she said.

Well-known Jazzman’s barista Ken Wray said he is still employed by Sodexo but declined to share details. Wray previously worked at Starbucks for nearly five years before coming to the college.
“I hope that Ken stills works there because he was a huge reason for Jazzman’s business,” Short said.


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About Shelby Mullis 29 Articles

Shelby Mullis is the news editor for The Franklin. She has held various positions in multimedia journalism, most recently serving as a reporter at The Republic in Columbus during Summer 2017. Shelby is also a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, Franklin College’s Indiana Statehouse news bureau, and was recently hired as a feature writer for the Franklin College Marketing and Communications Department.

This is Shelby’s second year in a leadership role and her third year on The Franklin staff. She previously held positions as a staff writer, assistant news editor and copy chief.

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