Coffee and Computers: Local Businessmen to open cyber-cafe near WSU,
By Rachael Brzys,
Imagine several useful student resources combined. Take the convenience of the Undergraduate Library’s Extended Study Area, which is an almost 24-hour computer lab. Add to that the availability of coffee at the Starbuck’s attached to the South Residence Hall. Finally, mix in fresh sandwiches. The result would be a 24-hour coffee shop with computers, internet, and food. This is the dream of Delano White, Marc Baker, and Greg Posey, owners of a new internet cafe called Beans and Bytes. The shop is expected to open on Woodward in the first week or February.
White says he and Baker came up with the idea for opening a cyber-cafe while working as computer tutors in the Digital Divide Program. White described the objective of opening Beans and Bytes as “How to get technology to people, to places where people go all the time.” The owners actually did a lot of research to determine that an internet cafe would e good for Detroit. They had originally planned to set up in Ann Arbor. They had all gone to the University of Michigan, but were from Detroit.
The concept of Beans and Bytes went through several other changes as well. After the decision to open in Detroit, the three owners planned to target WSU students exclusively. However, due to the traffic of local businesses, they opportunity in offering a lunch menu and appealing to professionals as well. There will be a menu of low-cost sandwiches and salads along with the cafe staples of smoothies, lattes, espressos and others.
Though internet cafes are popular overseas, Beans and Bytes will be unique in Detroit. The typical form has been tweaked somewhat to make it suitable for the area. White intends to create an entire chain of the shops. There will be some variations and some further changes and additions to the current plan. The cafe will already have ten computers available with full printing and copying capability. White would like to make the environment more comfortable, with the addition of couches.
The initial hours of operation will be from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. White would prefer to able to offer 24-hour service. He said the project is new, and looking for input.
With all potential additions, the central theme of the cafe is the computers. There are many shops that offer wireless internet access, says White, but this store will also provide the computers to go with it. The name of the cafe is computer themed, as are the drink sizes. Rather than small medium large, Beans and Bytes fills byte, kilobyte, and megabyte.
Beans and Bytes will be located on Woodward, between Warren and Forest. “It will be two doors down from the Medical Center,” White said. That will put it further away from residents than the Starbucks and the UGL, but the hope of White, Baker, and Posey is that the better hours and services will make Beans and Bytes worth the trip.