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Three years in, The Meantime hopes to continue its legacy of giving back

Henry Cutting, a senior at UNC, and Victoria Tyson, a junior, are baristas at the UNC student started, managed, and run coffee shop out of the campus Y, the Meantime.

The Meantime Coffee Co. celebrated its three-year anniversary on Sept. 12, reminding those who care about the coffee shop how much it has influenced their time at UNC. 

The Meantime was started three years ago by three UNC students. This is the first year one of the founders is not on the team. 

Chief Executive Officer Oznur Ikiz, a junior majoring in business administration, said the founders created the coffee shop with the idea that it would be by, and for, UNC students.

“It’s super important for me, personally, to keep the culture and have their legacy go on,” Ikiz said. 

The Meantime celebrated its birthday with special birthday lattes, new merchandise and a new loyalty membership program. 

John Vance, a junior majoring in studio art and a member of The Meantime’s marketing team, said the turnout is a testament to how successful the startup coffee shop has been in its short time on campus. 

“I think the amount of the customer base we have, and the amount of regulars that come in everyday, definitely is amazing considering we’ve only been around three years,” Vance said. 

Janis Arrojado, a sophomore majoring in geography, is a consistent customer at The Meantime because she likes how it is student-run and gives back to a good cause. 

“I really like how they’re a non-profit, so I feel like I am supporting a business that I like,” Arrojado said. 

Vance said a big part of the coffee shop’s mission is sustainability and giving back to good causes on campus. Most of their profits go to the Global Gap Year Fellowship. 

“I think it’s so powerful when a customer comes in, buys a coffee and knows that money is going back to UNC,” Ikiz said. “The impact we have daily on our customers, on our employees, on our partners — it’s precious. You can’t even put a price on it.”

For some people on campus, The Meantime may just be a place to get their daily coffee. For Ikiz, an international student from Turkey, it changed her life. 

“Being an outsider, being an international, I wasn’t even able to speak English properly at that time,” Ikiz said. “It was hard to fit into the culture. I didn’t know a single thing about basketball. I didn’t know anything about North Carolina culture, but The Meantime was the one place I could go and take a break.”

The Meantime has grown in popularity during its three-year existence on campus. Vance said it may need to find a new space in the future to match its increase in customers. 

“We’re realizing we’re becoming really popular and how do we best use the amount of space we have and the facilities we have to continue to reach new customers but also treat our existing customers as well if not better,” Vance said. 

As for Ikiz, she wants to make sure The Meantime’s legacy endures for decades to come. She wants to show her kids why she is so grateful for the coffee shop. 

“I want to make sure we solidify our existence in Campus Y and UNC,” she said.

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