By Ayden Pugh, The Circuit.
It seems like there is always a new coffee shop popping up unexpectedly around the corner. Another one appeared in Atchison earlier this semester, but it is not a well-known chain store. It is Tom and Jack’s Coffee Shack.
Tomás Alicea and Jack Walsh are two Benedictine College students who had a surprise business opportunity drop in their lap. At the end of spring semester 2017, the coffee house called Daisy House,
located in Backroad Atlas antique shop, closed due to low foot traffic.
Angela Wilson, the owner of Backroad Atlas, asked Alicea and Walsh if they would be able to serve coffee and food on the weekends, and they accepted the offer.
They were two college students with a pocket full of experience and no resources.
“We traded a kayak for a semi-professional espresso machine from a friend and we borrowed a coffee grinder,” Alicea said.
“We showed up one weekend without a plan,” he said. “We decided we would make coffee and see who buys it and I had a recipe for biscuits I got from my boss back in Maryland. I worked in a coffee shop over the summer, and I learned how to bake a lot.”
Both Alicea and Walsh are new to running a business, but both of them have a history and a passion for coffee.
Alicea has been working in restaurants since he was fourteen.
“I’ve been able to work in all the different types of [establishments in] the restaurant business,” Alicea said. “I’ve worked on the pub side, the café side and the fine dining side.”
Walsh has been making coffee since his senior year of high school as a hobby.
“I wanted to be apart of Holy Grounds because I like the environment and it was something that I wanted to foster,” said Walsh. “That’s what has carried over to Tom and Jack’s as an extension— to build an environment and community. The way that I could do that was by making coffee.”
Tom and Jack’s now has a strong following of regular customers, though it has only been open a few weeks.
“We are pretty confident about the capacity we are doing and what we could be doing,” Alicea said. “We want to see if we can make coffee and waffles a thing.”
“It feels very organic the way everything has come together,” Walsh said. “Whatever we are doing, we want it to be about the people.”
Tom and Jack’s is currently open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is located at 832 Commercial St., Atchison, KS, 66002.