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Loyola Grads To Open Edgewater Cafe That Focuses On Empowering Its Employees

A new full service cafe will be opening in Edgewater by two Loyola student alumni. The cafe will focus on providing a quality menu and services while educating both its student and local resident employees with valuable business skills.

Loyola graduates Caitlin Botsios and Sean Connolly will be opening Helix Cafe in the space at 6237 N Clark which was previously K&J Global Pharmacy. The pair, who were college roommates, will be bringing to the cafe a business model learned through a successful Loyola University program for students called Loyola Limited. That program includes on-campus businesses such as a guesthouse, restaurants and a bike shop that help provide undergraduates experiential learning opportunities rooted in creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

“We saw a lot of value at Loyola Limited in giving students agency in their educational experience as undergraduates,” said Connolly. “It was really cool to see the student teams do everything from making the dough to setting up the long-term financial planning for each individual business. The teams would be of people who were studying various subjects but each saw the same transferable skills that they could take with them off-campus after they graduate and apply them to any number of different organizations to be effective members and leaders.”

Connolly, who worked at Loyola Limited as a student and then later was brought on as the program’s director for six years after graduation, will be assisted by Botsios’ educational background expertise. Helix Cafe employees will not only receive a paid job experience, they will also learn valuable skills which includes paid development time on the weekends. According to the cafe’s owners, any net profits will be reinvested into more operations like the cafe that will provide more jobs for more students.

“People will be getting a really great first job experience at the cafe,” said Botsios. “They will be getting paid development time every week that includes workshops that will provide them an education on various subjects like how to build a better resume to what skills employers will be looking for in the future. We are also developing an employer pipeline where students who have worked with us will have a connection to another job in the community. Employers will be really excited to hire from us as well, with students having a really good set of professional skills that are necessary for future jobs.”

The new cafe will offer a full service menu that includes locally roasted Halfwit Coffee and various breakfast/lunch food options including breakfast tacos, sandwiches, bowls and an assortment of healthy grab-and-go options for those on the run. The 1200 sq. ft. space will be getting a bit of a remodel to allow for kitchen space and the addition of tables in the front. They will also adding a few outdoor tables during the warmer months.

Helix Cafe has an anticipated opening sometime in early Spring.


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