Dining With Denise Neil

Fairmount Coffee Co. will provide hangout space for WSU community

Fairmount Coffee Co. will open at the edge of the Wichita State University campus in mid-July.
Fairmount Coffee Co. will open at the edge of the Wichita State University campus in mid-July.

When she was a student at Wichita State University, Paige Edgington would come to campus, go to class, go to work, then head right back home.

But when she transferred to a school just outside of Lincoln, Neb., she found a different atmosphere.

“I spent a lot of time in Lincoln and found a lot of cool hangouts,” she said. “And I thought, ‘It would have been really neat if Wichita State had had something like that.’”

Now, Edgington is back at Wichita State University. She’s the director of campus outreach for the Lutheran Student Center on campus, and part of her job is to manage a coffee shop that the center is about to open it its building at 3815 E. 17th St., just on the edge of the WSU campus.

It’ll be called Fairmount Coffee Co. and is set to open in mid-July. The center is in the middle of a massive remodel that will result in a 2,000 square-foot coffee house with meeting rooms, comfortable seating and a hangout vibe. It’ll serve coffee roasted by Reverie Coffee Roasters plus baked goods, smoothies, salads and sandwiches.

The shop will be operated using a similar model as Mead’s Corner, which First United Methodist Church opened in 2008 at 420 E. Douglas. It will be a non-profit whose main goal will be to break even, Edgington said. Any extra money will go toward its mission.

The founders don’t want to hide their religious affiliation, but they won’t be overt about it either. Anyone, religious or non-religious, will feel comfortable there, Edgington said.

“We would like to let people know that there are opportunities to participate in our ministry, but we welcome all people of all backgrounds,” she said.

The building went up in the 1970s, and the Lutheran Student Center has had it ever since, Edgington said. Those who operate it had long dreamed of turning it into a coffee shop, and when Edgington started working there, she pushed the project forward.

“When I came in and heard the idea, I said, ‘Wow, this is amazing. We could do this. We could make this happen,” she said.