At 21-years-old, Austin Arias knows what he wants. He wants to be his own boss and he wants to help area youth.
And he is succeeding at both. Arias recently opened his own coffee shop in downtown Osakis – Abundant Life Coffee – and he is a youth group leader.
Originally from Willmar, Aria has lived in the Osakis area most of his life. He graduated from Osakis High School in 2016.
Shortly after that, he spent time as a missionary with an organization called Youth with a Mission. He also lived in Montana and was in Taiwan for a couple of months. And he hopes to go back there someday.
As his whole family loves coffee, Arias said opening up a coffee shop seemed to be the perfect fit. Although he grinds his own beans and serves up an array of specialty drinks from lattes to cappuccinos and mochas to espressos, Arias said his favorite coffee drink is a straight-up, black, cold brew.
Before opening Abundant Life Coffee, Arias said he spent time in other coffee shops and also had many conversations with Bill Jarvi, the owner of Common Ground Coffee House in Alexandria.
The name, he said, comes from a Bible verse, John 10:10, that talks about living life abundantly.
“I named the shop after that,” he said.
As for learning how to make all the variations of coffee drinks, Arias said he watched plenty of videos on YouTube and did a lot of practicing.
“I am still doing a lot of practicing,” he said.
Besides caffeinated beverages, the coffee shop offers bakery items that Arias gets from Roers Bakery in Alexandria. He said he plans to keep adding to the menu.
Because he has a passion for youth and helping them, Arias wants Abundant Life to be a “safe place for kids to go.”
He has started a non-denominational youth group that meets at the coffee shop on a weekly basis. Anyone wanting to join, can email him at email@example.com. He also said he can be found on a variety of social media outlets including Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook.
Wants him to succeed
When Carrie Arias found out that her son wanted to open a coffee shop, she thought it was a great idea. She said before he went to Taiwan, he had told her when he came back, he was going to start up his own business.
“He’s very adventurous and if he sets his mind to something, he’ll get it done,” she said.
He went to school for ministry, so she said having the coffee shop as a platform for connecting with youth seemed to be the perfect fit. Although she did say at one point, she expected him to become a pastor.
When asked if anything shocked her about her son wanting to open a coffee shop, Carrie Arias pointed to a large piece of equipment and said, “I am shocked that he can run this machine and that he is the best at it!”
The machine is what makes the specialty coffee drinks and can be a bit complicated and intimidating.
She said he needed very little help opening the business and did the majority himself. His parents want to help him anyway they can because they both want to see him succeed.
“We support him 100 percent and will help out in whatever way he needs us,” Carrie said.