Saxbys Coffee: A staple of student life

The sound of a dozen conversations floods the room as students bustle back and forth throughout the store. Across the room, two students sit face to face. The smiles on their faces deepen as they delve further into their meeting. The cup of coffee between them on the table seems alive, steam pouring into the air and drifting toward the ceiling. It’s just an ordinary day at Saxbys Coffee.

Building a Brand

Eight years ago, Georgia State students were unable to buy a cup of coffee in Library North. The library’s Saxbys didn’t exist yet. The cafe wasn’t built until late 2007, and shortly thereafter purchased by Hamad Mazhir in July of 2008. Since that time, Saxbys Coffee has become a staple of students.

“I wanted to be in business. I felt that it was the right concept. The foot traffic was perfect. A lot of students go to the library. It had a lot of potential,” Mazhir said.

When Mazhir first bought the property, the menu consisted solely of beverage items. Since taking ownership, however, he sought to localize and personalize the menu items with the college student in mind.

“I knew that if the menu could be enlarged you could earn more revenue. Saxbys Corporate works together with this unit to create a more price conscious and more college-bound menu,” Mazhir said.

To that end, Saxbys at Georgia State has introduced a number of items beyond the universal beverage selection at Saxbys across the United States. Saxbys deli and bakery offer unique selections for students in need of a rest stop.

Committed to Customers

Committed to providing and executing a satisfactory college cafe experience, Mazhir ensures that items from the deli and the bakery aren’t just leftovers from the previous day’s operations.

“Our bagels are baked fresh every day from a local baker, and our entire deli menu is made to order. The fruit that we make doesn’t come from a truck anywhere. We cut it up daily,” Mazhir said.

Localizing the menu wasn’t the only decision made with college students in mind. Mazhir also said that the location’s art is local as well and that Saxbys has reached out to Georgia State’s art department in hopes of displaying new pieces.

During the midday hours of any given point in the week, it’s difficult not to find a line stretching out towards the entrance of the cafe. Over time, Georgia State’s students have become used to the crowd. So has Mazhir.

“Walking into the store, you definitely do get a feeling that its not a cafeteria. We try to focus on the quality of food and the urgency for students. We’re open to the idea of changing the menu to what the new market wants,” Mazhir said.

The Student Experience

Mohammed Toure, 28, and senior biology major, certainly feels Mazhir’s dedication to the student experience at Saxbys Coffee. He finds himself inside the cafe on a regular basis, showing up roughly five days each week.

“It’s very convenient for me. I can do two things at once. I can usually come to the library and instead of having to make any stops on the way I know already have coffee waiting for me. Convenience beats all,” Toure said.

Toure also said that the shop’s overall environment is one of it’s best features and one of many reasons he comes back for another cup day after day, noting the cafe’s clean interior and the sprightliness of its youthful staff in particular.

Making these stops at Saxbys is a critical part of Toure’s routine as a biology major. He said over the years Saxbys has indirectly helped better him as a student through its convenient location in one of Georgia State’s prime study areas.

“I stay fairly busy. I am a pre-medical student, so there’s always work that needs to be done. Saxbys helps me by being open all the time. I usually like to use the library as my study area. I’ve built a routine coming to Saxbys. It’s like a one stop shop,” Toure said.

While the daily coffee runs help Toure through his classes, he doesn’t always stick to ordering caffeinated fluids. Like so many other regular customers, Toure knows his favorite item on the menu.

“I don’t order a lot of food, but when I do I order the croissant with turkey bacon, egg and cheese. That always puts me right back on the map,” Toure said with a smile.

Of course, Toure isn’t the only regular customer at Saxbys Coffee. Over its successful seven year stint, Saxbys Coffee has cemented itself as a cornerstone of student’s academic life. Given the daily crowds, that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.