Golden light reflected off glass cups of coffee and tea at The Beanhive as its customers worked silently or talked in soft tones. With its wall art ever-changing, shelves filled with books, Knox publications and board games and wide drink options—from coffee, tea and smoothies—displayed on chalk boards, The Beanhive has been a popular off-campus getaway for Knox students.
Located on 124 E Simmons St, The Beanhive began five years ago when it was known as “Cracked Pots,” and soon the name changed to “Kaldi’s.”
John Heasly was an employee of Kaldi’s before the former owner sold it to him and he changed the name to The Beanhive. Before working at a coffeehouse and running his own business, Heasly had been a manager of a movie theatre.
“This is a lot like running a concession stand so it seemed familiar,” he said.
His experience working at the coffeehouse contrasts with managing theatres because not only are the customers nice, but, “it’s nice not having a boss telling you what to do.”
Except for the name, the coffeehouse has not changed much according to Heasly.
He said he wanted The Beanhive to be “quiet if possible, unpretentious and relaxed” and for his employees to be friendly. He said The Beanhive was popular with Knox students because it is close to campus, quiet so students could work and has free Wi-Fi.
On a Saturday evening, junior Josh Gunter sat at a table with his work in front of him. He said The Beanhive has a different atmosphere because it was off-campus. He said the coffeehouse has “a lot of color” and “intellectual and academic energy.”
Knox students occupied almost every chair and table with papers hanging off the sides as they typed, read and wrote under hanging lights.
“During weekends, it’s usually pretty busy and I like having activity in the background,” Gunter said.
Senior Robin Mahung said she came to The Beanhive because “we wanted to get out of dorms and it’s quiet here and we can get work done.”
As a result of buying a certain number of drinks, Mahung was awarded a free drink. Like Gunter, she usually gets a London Fogs—a drink with Earl Grey tea and milks—or a latte.
“When people come to visit me, I always make a point of bringing them here. It’s one of my favorite places in Galesburg,” she said.
For Heasly, the challenge of owning a coffee shop is that it is “hard to make money.” As Knox students go home for the summer, business drops and he has to cut the number of employees during that time.
Gunter said he likes coming to support local Galesburg businesses. During his stay in Galesburg during the summer, he came to The Beanhive every day.
As for future plans, Heasly hopes to have sandwiches soon—in about a month or so—and have the shop roast its own coffee beans.
Currently, there is debate between upper and underclassmen of whether to call The Beanhive by its current name or Kaldi’s, as upperclassmen knew it before the name change.
“In normal speak or in normal time, I call it Kaldi’s … but to be respectful of the name change I try to call it The Beanhive,” Gunter said.
Heasly said he does not care either way what customers call it. He wishes they would not call the coffee shop Kaldi’s but with new students incoming each year, eventually it will be known as The Beanhive.