Owner of Big Mike’s Coffee Shop Kim McKibben wanted to change the look and branding of the space since she bought it from Mike Sutton in 2014. Now, two years later, Big Mike’s is getting a new name: Aura Coffee—what McKibben hopes will embrace the Denton atmosphere.
According to General Manager Matt Quenette, McKibben had not really moved forward with anything even though she had an idea in mind. Originally, McKibben was considering naming the place Cara Coffee, “cara” being a Gaelic term for friendship, but a UNT student mentioned that “cara” in Spanish can mean “expensive woman” and Quenette stated they dropped the idea after that.
Quenette said that sometime last fall a UNT professor approached McKibben with a proposal. Marketing and Logistics Doctoral Student and professor Eric Kennedy was teaching two sections of a strategic brand management course, a total of 96 students, and asked if his students could come up with a brand for the shop and present to the owner.
One of the students, Senior Marketing major Karen Rosson, explained that the course always has a major group project every semester that involves a local business. Her group came up with the name “Rise n’ Grind” and another group’s was “The Green Bean.” Rosson said ultimately the goal for their project was to come up with a brand that captured Denton’s unique ambience and what Rosson related was an emphasis on “coffee with a conscious.”
“In one of the presentations, somebody suggested ‘Aura,’ which was basically a name based on some feedback that they got from Kim [McKibben],” shared Quenette, “which was feel good, positive energy, community space environment that we wanted to have here.” Even though the groups had gone as far as planning marketing materials, Quenette explained they didn’t decide to use whole projects, but rather picked and chose what aspects of different projects or ideas that they liked—the group that came up with the new name taking the prize, of course.
Plans for the future include placing a new sign, without much else changing structurally. Quenette shared the goal at the moment was to market the name and get the coffee shop on the map again. Aura barista and local artist Matt Long will be painting the name on the front. Other local artists will also be involved in designing t-shirts and stickers to sell in the shop in the future.