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Carly Hubbard ’16 is opening her own cof­fee­house on Friday at 42 Union St.
Haley Tark­ington | Courtesy

Carly Hubbard ’16 is putting the fin­ishing touches on a new cafe at 42 Union St., which is due for its soft opening Friday at 8 a.m. The shop, called Rough Draft, will offer coffee drinks, simple refresh­ments, a future cocktail bar and draft beer, and a space for study and con­ver­sation for stu­dents and members of the com­munity.

“I’m just so thrilled to make some­thing beau­tiful and serve it to people. I’m excited to provide a place for great con­ver­sation, good study, and hanging out with pals, and to have a space that can char­ac­terize that,” Hubbard said. “I hope I can join the list of cool off-campus places to just hang out.”

Hubbard said the cafe will offer a space for stu­dents to study after regular business hours, as well as offering a place to host events and meetings off-campus — and of course, serving good coffee.

“I just want people to come hang out, because I believe that com­munity is about con­ver­sation and delight over beau­tiful things and study and chatting and jokes, and I thought it was really important to have a space like that,” Hubbard said.

Cur­rently, the cafe has four employees, including senior Haley Talk­ington.

“She’s been very focused on fig­uring out how to make a good cup of coffee,” Talk­ington said.

“We’re learning what a good espresso tastes like and what a bad espresso tastes like, espe­cially for this brand.”

Hubbard, who majored in biology at Hillsdale, said her interest in coffee grew from a hobby to an intel­lectual interest in college. She said she has enjoyed learning the science and the art of coffee, as well as the business side of running a cafe in an envi­ron­men­tally respon­sible, sus­tainable way.

“I love that the beans are roasted in Michigan, and that I know where they came from, and the farmer who grew them,” Hubbard said.

The coffee is from the Hyperion Coffee Company in Ypsi­lanti, Michigan, a roasting company that imports much of its single-origin coffee from farms in Peru. She also plans to make her own mocha mix and syrups for other coffee drinks.

Adjunct Pro­fessor of English Ellen Condict said she has known Hubbard since she was a 5th-grader at Hillsdale Academy and has men­tored Hubbard through college and beyond — as well as offering advice and expertise on remod­eling and dec­o­ration. Condict said Hubbard’s back­ground and her per­son­ality have pre­pared her for opening a business in Hillsdale.

“She’s always been inter­ested in science and the human­ities,” Condict said. “She’s very social; she loves to make people feel welcome; and she has a lot of enthu­siasm.”

Talk­ington said the cafe will offer a meeting space that has been lacking in the com­munity and on campus.

“She’s really filling in an area in the com­munity — with Broad Street closing down — that we need,” Talk­ington said. “And she also has a really beau­tiful place for hosting events. It’s geared toward having stu­dents here studying. It’s all very thought out as far as how you write a rough draft. You want to do it here.”

Hubbard said she plans to open the shop from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day but Wednesday.

Though the shop has been approved for a liquor license, Rough Draft will begin by focusing on coffee drinks and refresh­ments like scones, cookies, and gourmet toast (bruschetta fans, rejoice). The summer will give Hubbard and her employees valuable expe­rience with the menu and the process of running the shop, and she plans to host a grand opening party when stu­dents return in the fall.

Hubbard said the name of the cafe reflects the process of opening her first business, as well as the expe­rience of many of her future cus­tomers.

“That’s why it’s called Rough Draft,” Hubbard said. “You’re never going to be fully pre­pared until you start and get some­thing down on paper and get started. I know I often compare myself to the final product in a lot of things, but the reality is that it takes a lot of messy and unglam­orous mis­takes to get you to the point where you have some­thing to offer.”

Condict said the cafe — both the open space and the entre­preneur behind it — will be a place for com­munity outside campus.

“Carly has been really inten­tional about cre­ating an attractive space. I love that,” Condict said. “She has an idea of making a space where great con­ver­sa­tions happen. It’s a neigh­borhood atmos­phere, and that will draw people in.”