The CIU classroom: Where dreams begin
Coffee café now a reality for CIU alumnus
By Bob Holmes
Beach Loveland’s dreams for a coffee café in his hometown of Irmo, South Carolina first began to take shape in the classrooms of Columbia International University. In November, that dream became reality with the café’s grand opening.
“I actually built my class load around key interests to put together the vision for the café,” said Loveland. “I’ve been working on everything you see in this building since I was a freshman at CIU in 2005, planning and praying about how I wanted it to be. Now it’s here!”
Loveland has been gradually leading up to the fulfillment of this dream. He is owner of Loveland Coffee which began with a drive-thru kiosk in the St. Andrews/Irmo area in Columbia’s northwest suburbs in 2012. He earned the title of Roast Master from the Specialty Coffee Association in 2017, and soon after opened a roastery where he is able to control his own coffee brand beginning with the coffee beans that are fair-trade and organic.
And while CIU didn’t have a Business major when he was a student, he still integrated his plans for the future into his studies.
“I looked back recently at some of my (assignment) papers for classes, and if I could, I would include (in them) exactly what I wanted to do (in the future),” said Loveland who majored in Family and Church Education. “In 15 years sometimes you forget some of the things driving your passions, and you say, ‘Oh yeah this is when I first thought of this,’ and now look, I’m doing it.”
Loveland’s drive and passion centers around what he calls “The Three Cs,”: coffee, customers and community.
“The coffee is what drives us to serve the other two,” Loveland said. “We try to be involved with things going on in our community, and be a source of encouragement.”
For example, Loveland partners in fundraising events in the local schools that his children attend. He is also involved with the Irmo Town Council, serving on a committee that studies future community growth.
“We try to have our finger on the pulse of the town and where we can best serve,” Loveland added.
On their website, Beach, who graduated from CIU in 2009, and his wife Jessica, a 2002 CIU graduate, describe their café as “a vision of bringing the community together through their love of coffee and guidance of the Lord.”
“We see our café as a connecting point for all different kinds of people to come together, get to know each other and be in community,” Beach Loveland said. “Our calling is to serve them and be a light to our community.”
Loveland is trying to absorb the reality that the café is up and running. The location is spacious with meeting rooms that community groups can rent. A full kitchen offers opportunity to expand beyond the current menu of pastries, and the roastery has been moved to the café where customers watch the roasting through an expansive floor to ceiling window.
“It’s humbling. It’s exciting, it has been hard work,” Loveland said. “It feels good to be in the moment of a long-term dream. It’s a really cool feeling. We made it.”
With record enrollment in 2020, BestColleges.com ranks Columbia International University the 2020 Best Online College in South Carolina, and CIU is #2 in the state for Best College Campus. CIU also consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South and a Best Value Regional University in the South by U.S. News & World Report.