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This item originally appeared in the April 1, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

Everyone who frequents The Frothy Monkey has their own favorite drink. Brittany Aubin, a senior graphic design major, has been enjoying her favorite, a snow monkey with vanilla flavoring, since the coffeehouse opened its doors.

"Besides the fact that I'm friends with [co-owners] Jonathan [May] and Neil [Keen], I like the cozy atmosphere," Aubin said.

Keen began the coffee shop with May, who sold his half of the business this year.

The first Starbucks-style establishment came to 524 W. Arizona Ave. two years ago and won the hearts of many students.

Lindsey Groll, a junior family and child studies major, usually visits the shop twice a month and enjoys her favorite drink, a frozen caramel mocha.

"I like the music and the artwork," Groll said. "This is a good place to have talks with friends."

Upon entering the coffee shop, one cannot help but to be instantly charmed by the soft lamp light and the quiet jazz music.

Black and white photographs and colorful abstract paintings made by Tech students and instructors cover the brick walls and give a city vibe. The different bands that perform monthly only add to that feel.

So, can one place really be this nice? What do the workers say about what goes on behind the friendly exterior?

Michael LeBlanc, an employee and a senior graphic design major, enjoys his job.

"I've been here almost the whole time," LeBlanc said. "It's fun. I get to wear everyday clothes, and I get a discount. When I stay up late working on projects, it's a benefit."

LeBlanc said "meeting people and staying in contact with the community" is the best part of his job.

Another employee, Melynda Zangla, a senior interior design major, said she enjoys her coworkers.

"It's the people I work with that make it fun," Zangla said. "It's a real job, but it doesn't feel like one."

Keen said the primary location on Arizona Avenue was sold, and a new shop will be operating in Nashville, Tenn., in mid-April. He also said more Frothy Monkey stores may be in the works.

"We're talking about doing a franchise once the Nashville store opens and is operating well."

The newer store in Ruston, located at 110 N. Monroe St., opened in August 2003. Keen said he is happy with how well the business is doing.

"I'm pleased with the response I've gotten from the community," he said. "I'm glad everyone likes it."

Keen and May were optimistic about bringing something new to the area.

The atmosphere was important in the decision-making process. Keen said they wanted it to be "cultural and relaxed."

What does Keen do for warmth on chilly workday mornings? He enjoys a little white hot chocolate.

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