When he applied to Starbucks, Tarek Chawich was rejected. Now, he’s running his own coffee shop.
Chawich, 24, opened Château Coffee Co. last month on Lansing’s west side on South Waverly Road.
The inspiration for the coffee shop stems from Chawich’s childhood. He grew up in Lebanon, drinking coffee and eating baklava. Everything on the menu will be Lebanese or French inspired, as is his home country, which was part of the French colonial empire.
He said customers can anticipate a rapidly changing menu full of items such as Arabic coffee, baklava and macaroons. Most of the treats will be made in-house, while the coffee beans are from 517 Coffee Co., another Lansing business that Chawich says is high quality. Chawich plans to continue supporting fellow local businesses.
Chawich graduated with a supply chain degree from Michigan State and minored in entrepreneurship and innovation. He’s earning his master’s degree in marketing research from MSU. He says he wasn’t ready to enter the corporate workforce “just yet.”
Many of Chawich’s employees are also MSU students, and the shop works closely with the university. He had help from MSU’s interior design student organization when decorating the inside of the shop, which includes trendy elements like a hedge wall.
“We don’t hire just because of coffee skills, but what else they can add to the company,” Chawich said. For example, a marketing major is his marketing specialist.
Chawich is learning to balance running his business while still studying. When the coffee shop is slow, Chawich can be found doing homework.
“It’s definitely different, but I like a challenge,” he said. “It’s a good experience, and I like working hard.”
When asked what sets Château apart from the competitors, Chawich said that he wants his business to be considered “innovative” compared to others. He wants customers to have unique, authentic options to choose from when they come into his coffee shop.
“We never say how we can be better than the competition,” he said. “We ask ourselves how we can be different. We want you to have a different experience, and a great customer experience.”
Château Coffee Co.
1701 S. Waverly Rd., Lansing
6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
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Sunday, February 20, 2022 Report this