To the average observer the skills of a barista and that of a heavy duty mechanic may seem mutually exclusive skill-sets, but for Bissett student Ryan Wenger the combination of the two has led to a successful business venture. When the Bissett building was looking for a coffee kiosk, Ryan quickly jumped in and married his hobby of refurbishing coffee equipment with his love of coffee and desire to have his own coffee shop; the Barrow and Espresso venture was born.
Finding an unused small space under the stairs in the Bissett building, Ryan carved out a niche…physically and business-wise with the first location of The Barrow and Espresso. The under-used space has been transformed into a vibrant area, where students and faculty meet while enjoying Ryan’s specialty coffees and upscale pastries. Ryan has been able to apply his learned business acumen to the running of his business including employee management, inventory purchasing and marketing.
Recognizing a winning formula of turning small under-used space and creating a welcoming and vibrant coffee shop, Ryan is expanding his business. He was selected to open up a second location in the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. A third location in the Marda Loop area is also in the works.
The aromatic scent of coffee as you enter the Bissett building, the artfully displayed pastries, the chattering of the customers gathered under the stairwell, and student employees warmly serving the Barrow customers have brought a new energy to the Bissett building that goes far beyond a good cup of coffee. It has been trans-formative for not only Ryan but for all of those who work and attend classes in the Bisset building. As a faculty we are not only proud of Ryan and his accomplishments… but grateful! We wish him continued success.
Ryan and his business venture have been recognized by the LaunchPad program here at MRU, winning a $5000.00 bursary in 2017 and most recently he was named regional EO Entrepreneur of the year at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards. Winning another $5000.00. Ryan will be attending the Fair Trade Field School in Guatamela next semester to learn about the coffee bean business from local farmers.