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Business as Art: Childs ’21 at Mojo Coffee Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Working at Mojo Coffee Gallery, everyday is different. One day I could be pulling espresso and making drinks, the next slipping flyers under studio doors, or the next day I could be planting 52 flowers. Mojo is a unique cafe with a unique situation, part coffee shop, part event space and part art gallery situated in the bottom floor of a 5 story artist studio building in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis. Everyday is different, but there’s a similar theme of service to the customer and egalitarian pricing throughout all the work I do.

My official title is “Intern”, at least that’s what it says on my schedules, but really I do a lot more than just intern. Recently I have been more useful to the cafe as a fill-in covering shifts because I have been trained into almost every position. One very important aspect of owning a business I have learned is competitive pricing is not as important as many believe. Before I started working at Mojo, when I was just a customer, I would drive past what seemed like a hundred coffee shops just to go to this one. Mojo isn’t a historic staple of the neighborhood, it’s only been around three and a half years, but people across the city know its reputation.

Mojo is also known as an accessible art gallery, both for artists and for patrons. Over the time that I worked there, many new customers came in and were in sensory over load because of all the different kinds of art on the walls, the patchwork tables and chairs, and the variety of coffee and food smells. There’s always so much to look at, I felt like I saw something new on the walls or on the shelves every day.

This job was definitely very formative for me as a future business owner. It showed me a different way of doing business and interacting with customers. There’s definitely similarities across coffee shops, like personal relationships formed between baristas and regulars, but Mojo put a different spin on it, where baristas are friends with regulars and have relationships with them outside of the coffee shop. Working at Mojo showed me that business can be art too.

Photo credit: and Mark Shryock

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I am a first year college student at Antioch College majoring in small business and media production.

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