Tag Archives: student success

Student and Business Owner Serving Uncommon Coffee


When Joshua Agardy and his wife Rachael opened their business in downtown Mount Pleasant, Michigan in Sept. 2014 they wanted to contribute something to downtown that wasn’t already there- a coffee shop.

“Growing up in Mount Pleasant there was not a single coffee shop in the downtown area,” said Agardy. “I figured a good way to start my experience in business was to open a coffee shop where there was a need for one.”

Pleasant City Coffee (PCC), located on Broadway Street in Mount Pleasant, serves coffee roasted by Uncommon Coffee, a coffeehouse and roaster located in Saugatuck, Michigan.

“I learned everything as I’ve gone throughout the process,” said Agardy. “I didn’t know how to do anything more than make a cup of coffee before I opened.

Inspired by opening the business, Agardy is pursuing a finance degree at Central Michigan University (CMU) and is taking one course each semester. His wife is a full-time geology professor at CMU and the couple has four children all under the age of 10.

In addition to school, Agardy invests 60 to 80 hours each week into PCC and owns and maintains rental properties in town.

“Any time that I’m sitting here looking out the door waiting for customers to come in is time I can be forwarding my momentum toward my degree, so it’s not wasted time,” said Agardy.

Linda Weiss is a familiar face at Pleasant City Coffee and visits the shop nearly every day.

“The coffee is the best in central Michigan, the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable, and the customer service is superior,” said Weiss. “I’m glad to be supporting a local small business in our downtown, and thus helping support our city’s economy.”

Through the month of February, the coffee shop partnered with Isabella County Restoration House (ICRH) a rotational homeless shelter located in Mount Pleasant. For each bag of coffee sold at Pleasant City, $1 will go to ICRH.

PCC frequently hosts live musical performances from local artists and pop-up boutiques. For business hours and a list of upcoming events, visit their Facebook.

Josh Portrait (1 of 1)

Joshua Agardy poses behind the counter of Pleasant City Coffee which he co-owns with his wife Rachael. Agardy holds a bag of Zalmari Estate coffee beans roasted by Uncommon Coffee Roasters which provides the coffee for Agardy’s shop.


Customers of Pleasant City Coffee enjoy their beverages inside and take advantage of the spacious tables in the coffee shop on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.

PCC Exterior.jpg

Pleasant City Coffee, located at 205 W. Broadway St. in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, was opened in Sept. 2014 by Joshua Agardy and his wife Rachael.

Checking Out.jpg

A customer pays for a honey cinnamon latte at Pleasant City Coffee on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.

Josh Studying.jpg

Joshua Agardy, a finance major at Central Michigan University, studies in between taking care of customers at Pleasant City Coffee on Feb. 21, 2018.

This post is the culmination of a picture package project for my JRN 320 class. The project needed photos, a layout, and a short story. This project was difficult for me in the way that I needed to think of a story that I could do that was close to home (due to car issues) and was still worth telling.  I wanted to capture the relaxed nature of the coffee shop and how Josh does time management yet still balances all his responsibilities of operating the coffee shop, taking classes, and being a father of four.

Lighting for this assignment was really important and I knew I needed to capture the light and open feel of the coffee shop. Additionally, my dominant image is a portrait photo which needed to be well lit but I also wanted to show a bit more of behind the counter and a bit of the coffee shop so I just used put the speedlites I had brought aside and used the existing lights overhead which cast a nice backlight and left the window light to light the front. That was the largest challenge because I wanted a strong portrait to set a tone for the story but I was hesitant to bring in my own lighting because I didn’t want to disrupt the customers in the shop and I wanted the image to be strong yet natural. Luckily I didn’t need the additional light!


Transfer student struggles

gradClosing in on about a year ago I made the decision to transfer from my beloved community college in Port Huron, Michigan and join the ranks of students attending Central Michigan University.

A few days ago, I withdrew from my first class at CMU. I was overwhelmed trying to balance work and the appropriate amount of attention my classes required from me. I worked hard at my previous school leaving with a  hard earned 3.55 GPA, only to have it reset at CMU. I struggled to adjust to a new school, a new job, and a brand new area and balance 15 credits a semester. The transfer honors scholarship requires recipients to have completed at least 30 credits by the spring semester, a demand that is almost impossible to meet in higher level courses.

The worry and fear of my GPA dropping constantly invades my thoughts nearly every waking hour. Every assignment was crucial, every single point. If my GPA drops I will lose my scholarship. If I work I have less time to study. But if I don’t work, I struggle to pay rent or buy groceries. It’s a vicious cycle.

I came to CMU with the intention to join the award-winning student newspaper the CM-Life, yet to adhere to demands of my classes, coming in as a transfer student that is taking higher level courses, it leaves no extra time in a day.

So I bide my time and watch as other students who are involved with the paper not attend class, not turn in projects, and just overwork themselves. I know they are in the same boat that I am, but that ship is sinking. Employers are looking for experience but in order to gain that experience some students are sacrificing his or her classroom education.

The Office of Institutional Research at Central Michigan University produced a report that for the fall of 2014, the semester I began at CMU, the institution admitted 1,473 transfer students. CMU has an enrollment of over 20,000 students.  According to College Measures, an organization that produces information on performance measures for four-year universities in the United States, the graduation rate at Central Michigan University is a mere 57 percent. This is comparable to the University of Michigan’s 90 percent.

Students are falling overboard unnoticed. It is time for a life raft. Perhaps CMU should spend less money on a new lacrosse field, and focus more on student success here at the university.