Sam Jocas ’21

Whole Latte Love Inc., North Canton, OH

My internship this summer with Whole Latte Love Inc. (WLLC) has given me insight and experiences that will undoubtedly carry me through future vocational endeavors, as well as general training for post-grad life.

Whole Latte Love is a local coffee shop in North Canton, Ohio, that employs individuals with physical and mental 
disabilities. Individuals with disabilities are largely shunned from the labor market, in part because of their 
particular needs that many employers do not wish to shoulder, resulting in widescale unemployment for these individuals. Whole Latte Love aims to provide these individuals employment in their coffee shop, learning critical skills like money management, time management, coffee preparation, and general cleaning skills that can be added to their résumés for future employment ventures. WLLC believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be given a job with dignity and respect, regardless of one’s ability.

My summer internship dealt largely with fundraising for WLLC, as their start-up capital required to open their doors was nearly depleted. As a non-profit, WLLC’s current revenue model hemorrhages cash to keep all of their employees on payroll, and so I was tasked with researching local foundations and applying for grant funding. A key component of securing a grant is having finely detailed operating revenue projections so that these foundations understand exactly what their money is going into. I spent much of the summer looking through all of our prior purchases, market estimates about the local coffee market, and general market data to try and estimate to the best of my ability what our revenue streams and variable costs will look like.

Perhaps the most difficult part about this task was that I had to account for Covid-19, which required tweaking 
revenue projections to adjust for the decrease in customer traffic and purchasing power. To tackle this problem, I read a myriad of financial reports to try and establish how much the economy will contract in these coming months. Then, with this data, I looked at local economic forecasts to see how the national forecasts aligned with these local projections, and tried to average the projections to create a stable, reasonable projection for the local North Canton economy.

I definitely see myself using these skills of analyzing and gathering market data in future endeavors in consulting after graduation. The independence of these assignments also helped hone my skills in individual accountability and responsibility as it relates to workstreams, and also helped bolster my confidence in Excel. I appreciate the support from the ’68 Center for Career Exploration allowing me to have such a wonderful summer experience.