Taking over Manhattan 1 cup of coffee at a time

A sign informs students entering Rathbone Hall that the newest location of Radina's is open for business Jan. 26, 2016. (Lacy Siefkin | The Collegian)

“If you’re not roasting your coffee, you’re serving stale coffee,” Wade Radina, owner of Radina’s Coffeehouse and Bakehouse, said.

Monday was the opening of the newest location of Radina’s in the newly remodeled Engineering Hall at K-State.

“We’re going to have seven stores operating in Manhattan by later this year,” Radina said.

The next two locations will also be on the K-State campus. According to Radina, a full-sized cafe will be built in the brand new College of Business building set to open in August. The other location has replaced Caribou Coffee in the Student Union.

The renovation of the Student Union presented an opportunity for Radina’s to expand again. It has initially opened where Caribou was previously located across from the food court on the second floor. The permanent location will take the place of the Quick Cats convenience store, also located on the second floor. The store will transition into the cafe by the end of the year.

“I think (the expansion is) a good thing,” Logan Roberts, assistant manager said. “This is a very nice local coffee shop, and I like to see it thrive and expand. Especially to be a part of it is really validating.”

Radina said it is important to bring a quality product and provide a hub for the community.

“The reality is Manhattan has been really good to us … we’ve been able to bring to Manhattan the things that we always felt were missing from here,” Radina said.

Radina said he personally knows the importance of a community meeting place. He met his wife 25 years ago where the Aggieville Radina’s is now located. Back then, he was a barista at Espresso Royale, which is what the cafe was known as then.

Radina said he never intended to have more than one store.

I’ve got companies that come to me and want to help me franchise this, and they’ll do all the work and I’ll get rich,” Radina said. “I’m not interested in that as I tell some of my friends I feel like one of the wealthiest men on the planet because my time is my own. If I want to go home for lunch and have lunch with my wife or breakfast with my daughters, I get to do that. I don’t have partners making demands on my time. So I’m very happy to be right where we’re at.”

Radina said he has about 100 employees working for him. Ryan McCants, regional manager, originally started as a barista and was the very first Radina’s coffee roaster. McCants graduated from K-State with a degree in electrical engineering but chose to keep his day job. McCants said he has high hopes for the newest and smallest Radina’s site.

“It’s a place were people get together all the time,” McCants said. “People have millions of ideas over cups of coffee everyday. That’s one part of why I’m really glad to be back in engineering. A lot of kids are going to have a lot of great ideas over good coffee.”