By Cari Phillips
A new energy is pulsing through Barefoots Joe this semester. Several changes and new additions are creating quite a buzz in the coffee shop, including award-winning menu items, new baristas and an exciting lineup of events.
Four new faces can be found behind the counter this semester and the whole team says they are excited about their new beginning. Jesse Myers, sophomore Christian studies major, Cassie Osborn, sophomore social work major, Marie Adamkova, sophomore music performance major, and Hannah Brantley, sophomore philosophy major, are spending their first few days at Barefoots learning the recipes, techniques and products.
Stephen Capps, senior biblical languages major and Barefoots barista, said many who joined Barefoots’ team were employed early on and will be graduating soon.
“We brought in a group of younger baristas,” Capps said. “Even from the few days they’ve been working they have brought a positive attitude to the team and really enjoy working here.”
Ally Mynatt, sophomore art major and Barefoots barista, also emphasized the attitudes of the new employees.
“I am really excited about our four new baristas. They bring the rest of us this new energy because they are all so happy to be there,” Mynatt said.
Jesse Myers, new Barefoots barista, said, “I enjoy serving people, and Barefoots gives me an opportunity to serve the Union community and hopefully represent the face of Union to new students and members of the Jackson community who come into Barefoots,” Myers said.
Along with the fresh faces joining the scene, a variety of new whole-leaf teas are being added to the menu. Rishi brand tea has won several awards for taste and quality. One of the new options is the Jasmine Pearl green tea, which is hand-rolled and unfolds as it steeps in hot water. The Barefoots team also anticipates a diverse lineup of events, some of which cannot yet be revealed.
They welcome Will Gray to kick off the semester. On Feb. 17 Gray, will show his new film “Broke,” which deals with the music industry, and Feb. 18 he will perform.
“He has a really fresh sound and it’s going to be a fun show,” Capps said. “We’re trying to have different styles this semester. Will Gray is hip-hop meets Americana, and the other (shows) will have more of a folk sound, with one being a little bluesy.”
The Union music scene is constantly growing as new artists emerge and come to the Barefoots stage. To prepare for future events, the Barefoots leadership team will take their second trip to the Faith and Music Festival at Calvin College in Michigan. This conference is led by Calvin Colleges faculty and staff, who have experience with integrating faith and music into the college culture.
“They bring in speakers who integrate faith into music, even in bands that aren’t explicitly ‘Christian,’” Capps said.
“We bring in artists who aren’t worship artists, but have substantive lyrics that can sustain discussion and are artistically credible.”
Barefoots’ stage has held artists like Wild Sweet Orange, Anathallo and, more recently, The Civil Wars. Their dedication to seeking out the best talent in the industry has proved faithful, and with the looks of it, will only continue to get better.