CHICAGO, Oct. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - There are plenty of neighborhoods in Chicago where Jacob Sapstein could have opened up his java shop back in June 2010. Evidence would suggest that both the north side and downtown areas would be sure picks for potential business growth and ultimate success. However, south side roots and a successful pharmacy chain bearing his grandfather's name encouraged him to stay in the area he grew up in. So far there have been no regrets to locate Robust Coffee Lounge on the 6300 block of Woodlawn.
"At first I was a bit worried because it was hard to find anybody walking around the area or trying to utilize the neighborhood, said Sapstien. We then started to see teachers, principals and kids come in from neighboring schools. But so far it has been the kids who have really made (Robust) their space."
Robust may be what the doctor ordered for a city struggling with youth violence, a topic that has provided the city with national headlines for all the wrong reasons. Many of these violent acts are happening in the south side near the community shop. Sonia Wang, a teacher at the nearby University of Chicago Charter Woodlawn Campus, visits the shop regularly and says that Robust has definitely provided the neighborhood with a safe haven for even her own students.
"(Robust) provides a space for students to be their selves while being productive," Wang said. "It's a place students can engage in good conversation and interaction after school that isn't on the street. Jake also does a good job in teaching kids how to act in public space," said Wang.
A large amount of kids attending schools in the area come here to snack on natural smoothies and donuts, while making use of the free Wi-Fi available to patrons.
"Older high school students are there to work along side college students. Other students are there just to socialize. Some play video games or do homework. There just seems to be a pretty good flow of balance between work and play," said Wang.
SOURCE: Robust Coffee Shop
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