Café hosts DIY market on campus
By Jackson Ly
Chasing Lions Café has gained a reputation as a great a place to grab food on Ocean campus since it opened in Spring 2012, but it has also become a place where students can get real-life business experience.
The café’s owner, Keba A. Konte, chose the lion symbol because it represents something larger than himself.
“To me, it means chasing after success, taking a risk and pursuing your dreams,” Konte said.
Wanting to extend this metaphor into something real, he hosted a Student Made Marketat the café on March 20 to give City College students a chance to exhibit their own products.
“They need an avenue to make money all year long,” Konte said.
Christine Maalouf, a second-year business student, has sold Grandma’s Homemade, her family’s homemade jams, at farmer’s markets before, but she says her customers there are usually 40-50 years old.
“When I heard about the market, I’m like ‘oh my god, I need to do this,’” Maalouf said.
Using the Student Made Market as an opportunity to market to a younger generation, Maalouf invites students who enter the café to try out her jams before buying them.
She handed out free samples of her jams, which include Black Mission Figs, Calimyrna Figs with Walnuts, Quince Jam, Pumpkin Preserves and Chia-Apricot.
All of Maalouf’s ingredients come from a 50-mile radius: strawberries from Watsonville, apricots from Modesto, figs from Fresno, quinine from Nevada City and pumpkins from Half Moon Bay.
“I love meeting the people and making connections. That’s why I do farmers markets,” Maalouf said.
Second-year criminal justice student Shanalee Gallagher also had a table at the market, selling alternative medicinal products and supplements for people seeking holistic solutions.
Enrolled in 18 units each semester, Gallagher used to juggle school and working 35 to 40 hours each week.
“My GPA went from a 3.90 to a 3.40,” Gallagher said.
Since she started her small business venture, she has been able to reduce her hours at work to 18 hours a week.
“I think it’s great that they’re supporting the students and their business,” Gallagher said. “They’re giving us an opportunity to sell things on school ground.”
Business instructor Susan Berston said that the market is profoundly important because it builds community.
“Just everything about that café is a model of how small businesses can promote themselves by engaging the community,” Berston said. “It’s not just a café where you grab a cup of coffee. It’s a community.”
Berston encouraged her students in her Small Business 135 class to attend the market.
“I brought the whole class so they can get involved as future small business owners,” Berton said. “They can get ideas and participate in the next Student Made Market.”
Chasing Lions Café will host another Student Made Market on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, visit Chasing Lions Café on Facebook or visit Multi-Use Building Room 198 to sign up for a table.
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