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Deet's Place offers campus variety

By Nigel Hatton, University Relations intern

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 30 - April 27, 1995

The coffee shop craze has swept through Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech campus is no exception.

Since its opening in April, Deet's Place, Tech's coffee shop, has provided students with a study haven, show stage and social hideaway. Lately, faculty and staff members have also discovered one of the university's best-kept secrets.

It resembles a soda shop straight out of the '50s, complete with soda jerks and a full ice-cream parlor. In addition, Deet's Place is the first campus coffee shop to have its own coffee roaster. "We roast our beans right here on the premises," said manager Carol Price.

While students make up the majority of Deet's Place customers, assistant manager Mark Resnik said faculty and staff sightings are on the rise. "Lots of regulars come in every day," he said. "I see David Braine, the athletic director, once a week."

The shop operates from 9 a.m. to midnight during the week, and 10:30 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Resnik said faculty and staff members usually hang out between 2 and 3 p.m. "We'd like to get more faculty members so they can enjoy it and meet informally with students," said Laura Worley, assistant manager for market research of Residential and Dining Programs.

Faculty and staff customers usually hear of the shop through word of mouth since advertising is geared solely toward students, Price said. Worley said the shop does not want to compete with off-campus coffee shops such as Bollo's, and Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea. "It's seen as a student service," she said.

Snug beneath Dietrick Dining Hall, Deet's Place attracts the majority of faculty and staff customers from nearby departments such as the forestry and athletic departments, and War Memorial Hall, Price said.

"It's conveniently located to my office and it has that off-campus feel, yet it's on campus," said Kim Bowie, an area coordinator for Residential Programs. Bowie works in the basement of Newman Hall.

Although coffee, ice cream, and baked goods combine as the major attractions, Deet's Place offers much more.

A stage area is available for students who care to sing, play instruments, act, or recite poetry. "They can reserve it at no cost," Price said.

The popularity of Deet's Place hasn't come as a surprise. Price said the shop was envisioned "as a way to enhance community life overall, to students, faculty, staff, guests and whoever may be here."

A national trend, as well as student input, helped the idea of a shop become reality, Price said. "People in power, administrators, recognized that the coffee fad in the West was slowly spreading to the East Coast and they wanted to encourage the development."