Brick by brick
Five MVNU graduates are pursuing their dreams at a coffee shop in Norwood, Ohio.
The team at Brick Coffee Company is made up of CEO Dan Smith, CFO Zach Clark, CMO Dey’Veon Carter, Administration Leader Jenesis Clark, and CTO Nathan Henderson.
The team chose the name to tie in the history of the community to the new establishment.
“The name Brick came about from doing some research on the area,” Jenesis Clark said. “Norwood was a really big industrial area in the early 1900s and there was a brick factory not too far from here that manufactured many of the bricks used in historical Cincinnati.”
The leaders of the Brick Coffee team were connected to the Southwestern Ohio District Church of the Nazarene when they began talking about the concept of a community coffee shop. They met Rob Westerman, a pastor at the Norwood campus of Springdale Nazarene Church.
“Rob is really passionate about the community of Norwood and wanted to put a shop in the building, so it was a great partnership for us to form,” Jenesis Clark said. “The building itself is central in the neighborhood of Norwood in the heart of one of the busier areas.”
In addition to housing Brick Coffee Company, the building also holds a fitness studio, offices and meeting space.
Jenesis Clark says the best part about the opening was seeing all of their dreams, plans and hard work come together.
The new business has been well received by the neighborhood, she said, and the Brick Coffee Company already is looking ahead to the future and the goals of the company.
The team hopes to one day expand into a second location in another neighborhood to continue the ministry throughout Cincinnati.
“We want to establish ourselves as a company that invests and knows people deeply,” Jenesis Clark said. “We want to host events, and provide space for conversations. We live and breathe community, and our desire is to serve the community of Norwood in the way the MVNU community served us.”
One of the ways Brick invests in the local community and people is to give back financially through local charities. The team gives 50 percent of their tips every month to a non-profit organization.
Jenesis Clark described some of their struggles in opening a new business and starting their life outside of college.
“I think our biggest challenge would be finding time for ourselves,” she said. “Since many of us also work full-time jobs outside of Brick, finding balance and time to relax is one thing that can be really difficult.”
Still, the venture has been personally rewarding, and Clark said she is thankful that MVNU brought the team together.
She credits faculty, staff and other students for motivating the team to step out in faith and follow God’s call.
“MVNU brought us together and has provided the best foundation possible for us in this venture. We hope that our journey motivates other students to realize that they can do the non-traditional ‘thing’ they’re itching to do,” Jenesis Clark said. “God provides, God leads, and God can bring things to fruition.”