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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

FAU alumna runs VI Coffee Bar, serving coffee by day, drinks by night

Sarah Mark, a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) graduate and business owner of VI Coffee Bar, shares insightful advice with aspiring students to help them achieve their goals.
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Sarah Mark

Sarah Mark, an FAU alumna, is behind the success of VI Coffee Bar, a quirky café in the heart of downtown Boca Raton. VI, pronounced “six,” serves a variety of items, including craft coffee, specialty drinks, gourmet breakfast/lunch snacks, fresh baked goods, beer and wine. The café has an indoor/outdoor seating ambiance and hosts events such as Taco Tuesdays, Tiny Table concerts and trivia nights.

Mark, who has the Roman numeral VI tattooed on her, graduated from FAU in 2016 with a business degree. After 13 years of anticipation and manifesting, her vision became a reality when VI Coffee Bar opened in June 2023.

She notes that marketing strategies were incorporated in creating a catchy and memorable name to attract customers to her business.

“The entire point of this place is to be different; part of the reason why the name is a number is because I wanted [VI] to be everything that other coffee shops weren’t in terms of pushing the boundaries of what people think coffee is,” said Mark.

As a small business owner, Mark recognizes that every day is a chance to learn by making problem-solving and critical-thinking decisions. She shares her college and business experiences to advise aspiring FAU students in their journey. 

“Grow your network and be authentic with what you want,” said Mark. “Motivation is not always enough; study discipline and follow your dreams.”

Mark, a young entrepreneur, sought guidance from mentors throughout her business career. She recognizes that it can be difficult to be independent and that mentorship can be beneficial to success. She is committed to helping people pursue their career goals and has vowed to inspire her employees to develop professionally outside VI Coffee Bar.

VI defies food and beverage rules by changing the seasonal menu to introduce unexpected flavor combinations that infuse cocktail ingredients. Mark utilizes her diverse culinary background, from private chef to bartender, to craft intriguing specialty drinks that reflect her creativity and passion for coffee.

The best-selling specialty drink is the “Devil’s Advocate,” a luscious cold brew topped with a sweet smoked black-cherry cold foam. It highlights VI’s acclaimed coffee blend from Guatemala and Ethiopia, characterized by its roasted chocolate aroma and fruity flavor notes.

Hunter Vazquez, a barista at VI Coffee Bar and FAU student, recommends the “Butterfly Dagger,” a lemonade made with butterfly pea tea, lavender and a splash of soda water. VI’s menu of trendy specialty drinks offers an aesthetically pleasing presentation and is expertly prepared by talented baristas.

VI Coffee Bar manager Dely Marino appreciates VI’s values in maintaining a welcoming and comfortable environment that encourages self-expression. This makes VI a popular and vibrant destination for people of all backgrounds to enjoy. 

“The whole place is very inclusive, and Sarah allows us to be creative and express our ideas,” said Marino.“It’s nice to work in an environment where we can just vibe and have a good time while creating something people won’t forget.” 

While local competing restaurants are focused on sales and business expansion, VI is committed to satisfying its customers with authentic interactions to build personal relationships. To accomplish this, they host innovative events such as Taco Tuesdays and trivia nights open to the public to connect with VI’s staff after store hours.

VI Coffee Bar announced their Tiny Table concert series, a live music event featuring local artists and talents. Tiny Table provides a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their skills and gain experience without paying for a venue. The event also features an exclusive specialty drink and indulging food menu inspired by the artist. VI donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales to support the creative individuals who perform.

In addition, VI Coffee Bar collaborates with other local brands to organize events that help unite people and create a sense of community. Mark is grateful for the positive feedback and turnouts, striving to contribute to the town that inspired her and served as a foundation for her business.

Michael Cook is a Contributing Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Michael Cook
Michael Cook, News Editor
Michael is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in public relations. His journalism journey began in 2021 when he served as a writer and won "Journalist of the Year" for his high school yearbook. He currently aspires to become a television news producer.

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