Butler students create viable business from used coffee bags

 The coffee bags are kept out of the garbage and converted into tote bags, with fabric for the linings and handles.
The coffee bags are kept out of the garbage and converted into tote bags, with fabric for the linings and handles. | File photo

Four Butler University juniors have turned a company created for a class project into a viable business, turning used coffee bags into tote bags that are being sold in several local stores and even garnering attention from TV’s "Shark Tank."

While working at a Hubbard and Cravens, Jack Sigman noticed that the coffee shop was throwing out between 200 and 300 coffee bean bags each month. Working with fellow students Cole Geitner, Maree Smith and Jared Rushton, he developed a company called Java Threads for their Real Business Experience course, which sees sophomores in the Lacy School of Business create and run a company.

Java Threads has a partnership with Hubbard and Cravens, where they purchase the coffee bags with funds that the coffee shops donate to charity. The coffee bags are kept out of the garbage and converted into tote bags, with fabric for the linings and handles, through local labor to sew the bags. Java Threads puts an emphasis on sustainability and even donates scrap material to local schools as art supplies.

While the students’ Real Business Experience course is now concluded, they plan to continue developing Java Threads. They are selling the bags online and in two Indianapolis stores – The Good Earth and Pogue’s Run Grocer – and are hopeful following the submission of a solicited information video to "Shark Tank."

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