Georgetown alumni James Hilson (COL ’08), Eric Rodawig (COL ’07) and Ken Martin (MSB ’07) returned to the neighborhood last month as the new owners of the local Saxbys franchise.

According to Hilson, the three friends have had their eyes on the O Street branch of the national coffee chain since graduating from Georgetown.

Hilson, a former opinion editor of The Hoya, worked in the coffee shop as a student in 2007 and 2008 and developed a relationship with former owner Jack Egle. According to Hilson, Egle contacted him when he decided he was ready to sell the franchise.

“[Egle] wanted to put it in the hands of people who he knew really cared, people he was confident in … people who care about the Georgetown community and … feel like they’re part of the Georgetown community culture,” he said.

While the team declined to comment on the price they paid to purchase the franchise, Hilson said that the trio was attracted to buying the business because of the fondness the coffee shop has shown for the Georgetown community.

“There’s a great camaraderie … between the Saxbys employees and the different customers that we serve,” Hilson said. “I think Saxbys has a great relationship with the community, and it’s nice to be part of that relationship and atmosphere.”

Rodawig, formerly a viewpoint editor of The Hoya, added that the team feels fortunate to be assuming a leadership role in one of the best-known businesses in the area.

“There aren’t a ton of businesses right in Georgetown, and the ones like [Booeymonger’s] and [The] Tombs are kind of institutions and have been part of the community for a long time. We’re excited to be part of the community [for the] long term, as there aren’t too many opportunities for that,” he said.

Rodawig said that the new owners hope to build on the success the franchise has established during its six years of operation by expanding product offerings at the location.

“We are looking to expand some of [our] products, like yogurt, smoothies and oatmeal, and we would like to add some soup, especially with the colder winter months,” he said. “We would like to make our own sandwiches in there … rather than having them delivered fresh daily from a deli.”

He added that the team will seek to maintain the “mom-and-pop” feel of the coffee shop by continuing to source products locally and adding menu boards designed by a local artist.

“Our goal is to have that local, small-business feel,” Rodawig said. “The touch of an owner who’s in the shop every day … [is] someone who can make the shop have that feel.”

Hilson said that the team is considering accepting GOCard as a form of payment, a service that was removed from the coffee shop earlier this year.

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