BUSINESS

Reaching New Heights: High Point Coffee moves from Square to Old Taylor Road

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High Point Coffee’s new location on Old Taylor Road. Photo by Clare Heller.

Clare Heller
Oxford Stories
ceheller@go.olemiss.edu

High Point Coffee, once located on the Oxford Square, has a new location that business owners hope college students will find appealing.

Picture sitting in a corner booth in a cozy coffee shop, sunlight streaming through the window, and a steaming cup of coffee sitting next to a pile of textbooks. This fantasy exists in High Point Coffee’s new location at 3010 Old Taylor Road. Its locally sourced products, freshly roasted espresso, and Oxford community connections are part of its identify.

Store manager Stephanie Gunderson said making local connections is important. “In Oxford, community is very important,” she said. “Supporting a local company is just as important as us supporting the community.”

High Point, which has been located in Oxford for a decade, opened at its new location Aug. 30 after moving away from the Square last year. Just a few of its amenities include a large menu with unique beverage options, various seating areas, and a convenient drive-thru. High Point created a universal space, where students can hit the books or families can stop in on their way to the Grove for game day.

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The coffee bar with manager Stephanie Gunderson. Photo by Clare Heller.

The shop embraces all Oxford offers, which is shown by the names of a few specialty beverages that honor cows from the farm where it receives its milk, Brown Family Dairy in Oxford. High Point also receives its honey from Taylor and roasts all of its coffee within Oxford. “People appreciate that we’re local,” said Gunderson.

University of Mississippi sophomore Anna Greenwood, a St. Louis native, loves the familiarity of High Point. “As an out-of-state student, I think it’s really cool that I was able to find this little connection to Oxford,” she said. “It makes me feel like more of a local. It’s more like home.”

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The food selection. Photo by Clare Heller.

High Point is also planning fundraisers for local charities. “In October, we have a special where a percentage of our proceeds will go to the Mississippi Diabetes Foundation,” Gunderson said. Each month, they try to give back in a different way to support the community.

The new location on Old Taylor places High Point in the middle of thousands of Ole Miss students who live in apartments and townhouses along the road. “It’s so close to home, I can get there any day I want,” said Greenwood.

Gunderson understands the importance of connecting. “We like to be part of the community, part of the students,” she said.

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One of the study rooms. Photo by Clare Heller.

Gunderson said the location away from the hustle and bustle of town makes the shop more appealing, referring to it as “a hidden gem.” It features both indoor and outdoor seating, free WIFI, and even private study rooms, suitable for both group and individual work. Students also get free refills on black coffee as long as they remain in the shop studying and completing assignments. “It is a great place to study,” said Gunderson.

High Point aims to be a retreat from daily chaos with relaxing music, freshly roasted coffee, and a quiet location. “I think our atmosphere is very laid back,” said Gunderson, who has had experience working for a corporate coffee chain.

Greenwood said the store is a great escape from busy campus life. “It’s such a great place to just sit and study or get work done without distractions, which is really helpful when you’re trying to pass organic chemistry,” she said.

With weekly specials that include discounts and loyalty cards, High Point wants to build personal relationships with customers. Gunderson has had customers come in consecutive Saturday mornings to pick up drinks and breakfast for their families and guests as they prepared for game day.

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The back patio. Photo by Clare Heller.

Employees collaborate to come up with specialty drink ideas featuring the freshly roasted coffee. For example, Gunderson’s favorite is the “S’mores,” an espresso drink with a blend of chocolate, salted caramel, and marshmallow flavorings topped with marshmallow whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs. High point also offers a wide variety of sandwiches and snacks to pair with your beverage of choice.

High Point Coffee takes pride in its “100 percent local” philosophy, and strives to create a relaxing space for the community of Oxford by providing personalized service, unique drink options, and a low-key atmosphere.

With new amenities and study areas for students, the shop invites anyone looking for a quiet space or just coffee and espresso to spend an afternoon sitting in a booth or out on the patio.

“Keeping it local” connects the small business to the larger Oxford area, so that it can show support for the community that has built the brand over the last decade.

Clare Heller, 19, is a sophomore University of Mississippi student who is currently majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications with a Public Relations specialization. She is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she graduated from Pope John Paul II High School in 2017. She decided to come to Ole Miss to experience something completely different than what she had exposed to her whole life. After living in the Northeast, she enjoys spending time exploring the unique culture of the South.

In the future, she would love to travel the world and experience all the culture and opportunity it has to offer. She hopes to be able to go on new and exciting adventures but still able to curl up with a good book and cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon. While at Ole Miss, however, she is content to make the most out life in the charming city of Oxford.

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