Rain did not hamper the heartfelt celebration of both a new establishment at Guilford and the memory of an adored loved one.
On Friday April 12, four generations of the Farlow-Taylor family gathered for the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of Rachel’s Rose Cottage. A new coffee shop and hub for student work and collaboration, Rachel’s has opened after months of renovations to the building formerly known as the Hut.
Because of the gloomy weather, the gathering was held inside of Rachel’s, where President Jane Fernandes, staff, and family of Rachel Farlow sat eagerly during speeches and dedications prior to the ribbon cutting.
“Today, we lift up one story: a Quaker woman named Rachel Farlow Taylor,” said Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies Wess Daniels during his speech at the event.
The building was named after Rachel Taylor, a former Guilford student who also taught Home Economics. Taylor also served as head of Mary Mendenhall Hobbs Hall and was a strong advocate for women’s education.
Rachel’s grandson, Guilford College Trustee Fred Taylor, provided the philanthropic support for the development of Rachel’s Rose Cottage to honor his grandmother’s inspiring legacy.
“(Rachel) loved Guilford College,” said Fred Taylor. “She was a wonderful and devoted professor, and a wonderful and devoted mother with a love for cooking and (rose) gardening, and a devout Quaker.”
The building has incurred many renovations, some reflective of Taylor’s own style. The third-oldest building on campus, it was originally used as a coal-fired power plant for the college but was later repurposed as the Student Affairs Building. In the 1950s, it was used as a language lab. After suffering interior damage from a fire in 1967, the building was used for storage and later served campus ministry. Known as the Hut, the building served as a space for students to maintain their spiritual well-being and welcomed people of different religious faiths. Now, the building has been transformed into a coffeehouse and will serve as a cozy environment for students and faculty to interact and work together. As such, Rachel’s has faced criticism from both students and alumni who found the Hut to be a unique part of the Guilford community. The replacement of a religious gathering place with a coffeehouse has yielded some negative feedback but administration and staff remain optimistic.
“It took my breath away thinking back on all the collaborative decision-making, the evolution of the aesthetics, (and) clarifying the building intention…” said President Jane Fernandes. “Our team worked on this building for over 18 months and we came up with the idea of a coffee shop. This is no mere coffee shop. It is much more.”
The outside has been whitewashed and rose bushes are planted around the building, matching Taylor’s own cottage in High Point. The inside of the building features white walls with wooden seating, yielding a rustic theme. Fernandes emphasized that the transformation of the building reflected many of Guilford’s founding principles.
With many new alterations in terms of both policies and renovations, the successful opening of Rachel’s matches the direction that Guilford is headed in.
“I am excited to launch into a new era for Guilford College –– the Guilford Edge,” said Fernandes. “This building is an iconic symbol for where we are going: preserving the past and turning it into value and use for the future.”
Taylor gave a cookbook compiled with Rachel’s recipes to President Fernandes in appreciation. Taylor and Fernandes cut the ribbon to officially open Rachel’s Rose Cottage, thanked everyone for coming, and welcomed all to join him outside for a ceremonial planting of a rose bush.
“Roses that will grow up the side of the cottage and over its roof are like the end of a great performance — perfect!” said Fernandes.
Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Roger Degerman expressed awe regarding the preservation and remodeling of the building.
“The guiding principles and practices of the College influence every decision at Rachel’s,” said Degerman. “This includes partnering with local bakers and roasting company, serving organic, fair and direct trade beans, reusing furniture from the Moon Room, and utilizing whitewash to protect the 100 year old handmade bricks original to the structure.”
The baker is a local French Artisan baker, and the roasting company is Fortuna Coffee, also locally owned.
A variety of drinks such as hot tea, coffee, espresso drinks, iced drinks, and frappes are set to be served. Hot espresso drinks include americano, cappuccino, latte, and mocha of either 12 oz or 16 oz. Frappe flavors include mocha, caramel, cookies n’ cream, and red velvet. The americano, latte, mocha, and chai latte iced drinks are also offered as 16 oz or 20 oz. Prices vary from $1.50 to $1.75 for roast medium or dark drip coffee, $2.25 to $3.25 for 12 oz drinks, $2.50 to $3.75 for 16 oz drinks, and $2.75 to $4.25 for 20 oz drinks. In addition to the drinks, baked treats will also be sold, such as cinnamon rolls, croissants, danishes, and fruit tarts. Rachel’s Rose Cottage will be open Monday through Friday, 8am to 3pm.
Fernandes further expressed her hopes that Rachel’s would continue to have a significant impact on the Guilford community.
“Rachel’s is already a big hit on campus. You can often see lines extending outside; and inside you can really feel the energy of the students, faculty and staff who gather to catch up, collaborate on a project, study or just relax. It’s really quite thrilling to see so many different people from all points of campus and beyond enjoying this inviting and delightful gathering space.”