The recent exchange in ownership of The Mean Bean will bring with it some new changes to the eclectic coffee shop, including a bakery, intended to generate more business from students.
Christie Engler and her husband bought the coffee shop last November.
“We’d been looking for a business for a couple of years,” Engler said. “We really liked the idea of a coffee shop. My husband is actually a baker, so we wanted to do something that would be coffee and where he could incorporate baking.”
“We were looking for a couple of years, and we really didn’t like the idea of a franchise because you have to keep giving them your money. We were looking for an established business, and we just happened to find the Mean Bean, and it’s in a great location and has a lot of potential.”
Manager Samantha Tackett, 22, has been working at the Mean Bean for three years, and said the selling of the Mean Bean came as no surprise.
“The past owner had wanted to sell for quite a while,” Tackett said. “He just let it go towards the end there, so we were all hoping he would sell it pretty fast.”
The new owners are currently planning changes for the coffee shop, including renovations and a new working space.
“Right now we are in the process of renovating the basement, and that is going to become the baking area,” Engler said. “We’re planning on a main floor renovation hopefully this year, just to update it and what not. From there, we don’t really know. Those are the immediate plans.”
Tackett said the floor plans for the Mean Bean are going to see some serious changes as well.
“It’s going to be a total re-haul,” Tackett said. “The walls are going to be different, the flooring, all of the architecture is going to change…It’s going to be cool. It definitely needs it, I think.”
Changes might also extend to the name on the sign out front.
“We may change (the name),” Engler said. “It’s in conversation right now. There were two locations. There’s also one in Powell, and now they’re under a different ownership.”
“We wanted to make sure we established ourselves differently from them. We’re hoping in the future to open more locations around central Ohio. If we’re going to try and start a brand and everything we may start fresh with our own name.”
Sophomore Katasha Ross used to frequent the Mean Bean with friends in the last academic year.
“It was a place to hang out on Friday night before you went to dinner or after you went to dinner,” Ross said. “It was one more place to hang out over in that area of town. There was always a cool place to hang out and relax. It always had a friendly atmosphere.”
One thing the Englers might want to note is the location of the Mean Bean’s bathroom.
“It would be nice if you didn’t have to ask for a key to use the restroom, but I understand why that works,” Ross said. “It’s a little creepy, the restroom.”
Engler also said she hopes their new coffee shop can become a bigger part of the campus community.
“That was one of the reasons we like the location so much is because it’s right down the street from OWU,” she said.
“We want to do more directly with the college and see how we can service the students.”
“In the past they’ve tried to do different things like during exam week. We’ve talkedabout new promotions during exam week and during parent visits and weekends.”
She said she definitely wants more presence on campus and wants to get more business from students.
Tackett said she used to see many students, but the numbers seemed to decrease recently.
“I don’t know if that’s because of the past owner or the people who work here,” Tackett said. “They usually come in a lot during finals week – we stay open 24 hours for them. They usually come in at night.”
Engler also said the biggest goal for the new Mean Bean is to expand, whether they keep the name or not.
“(The Mean Bean) has been going at a steady pace for ten years,” she said. “We just want to grow it and create more awareness in the area, and go from there. I think the on-site baking place will be a big thing.”
The Mean Bean is open 5:30-10 p.m. Mon – Thurs, 5:30-11 p.m. Fri, and 7-11 p.m. Sat and Sun.