By Jacob Rzempoluch, Part-Time Staff Writer
A former bakery built in the 19th century and a team of Saint Vincent students: two key ingredients in a recipe for a local business. When Latrobe native John Baran decided to open a cafe and coffee shop in the former home of Mailey’s Bakery, he decided that students from SVC would be excellent additions to his team. As plans for the coffee shop became more developed, it became clear that SVC students would not only form an important part of the team, but also a key part of the business's leadership.
Emily Bosche, junior mathematics and psychology double major, Matthew Klasnic, junior business management major, Matthew Minkin, junior political science major, and Matthew Furrer, junior computational finance major, form the management team for Rachelle’s 15650. Klasnic, Minkin and Furrer live in an apartment above the former bakery and were introduced to the idea early in its conception.
“Our landlord… got in contact with the historical society, and they wanted to preserve the building and keep it as a business,” Klasnic said. “He kinda pitched the idea to us through Dr. Mallory.”
Initially, the plan was for the coffee shop to offer internship opportunities to students. Soon, Bosche was invited to join the team, and managerial positions were offered to the SVC students. The building was renovated over the summer, and the managers quickly began preparing the business for operation in September. While the kitchen and dining areas have been adequately modernized, the history of the building was retained as much as possible. Original tile is still visible, and historical photographs of Latrobe and the college are on display. Even an old oven from Mailey’s Bakery can be seen in the back of the seating area.
The bridge between the Latrobe community and Saint Vincent College may be strengthened by this local business.
“There’s no real connection between the college and the actual city of Latrobe right now. I think that this is going to bring in Saint Vincent students into the community,” Bosche said.
At the public opening on Feb. 5, both students and members of the community were present in large numbers. From open to close, a steady flow of customers filled the cafe. The location is primarily a coffee shop, but bubble tea and some sandwiches are also offered.
Dave Budjos, sophomore engineering major, was among the customers who made the short trip to downtown Latrobe.
“I’m glad how close to the school it is,” Budjos said. “I’m happy there were a lot of people here who weren’t students, but also happy that a lot of students were here.”
While opening day was certainly busier than a typical day, the team hopes that their goals of building a stronger connection between Latrobe and SVC, as well as their excellent menu, will help Rachelle’s to become a local fixture.
Rachelle’s 15650 is located at 335 Main Street in Latrobe and will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.