Port City Java sells travel mugs to support UNCW’s Athletic Department

Megan Soult | Contributing Writer

UNC Wilmington’s Athletic Department has new reasons to celebrate after Port City Java and BRAX fundraising paired up to raise $25,000 for the department. Port City Java locations across Wilmington will sell new and exclusive UNCW travel mugs at $10 a piece.

Pete Hexter and Steve Schnitzler, who are in charge of BRAX Ltd. and Port City Java, first contacted Jimmy Bass, UNCW’s Athletic Director, with the fundraiser idea in December 2013.

The fundraiser will help raise scholarship funds for the 19 intercollegiate programs at UNCW, and give the community the opportunity to support UNCW athletics.

The Athletic Department has big plans for the money, according to Bass.

“These scholarship dollars help us recruit and retain the best and brightest student athletes,” Bass said. “The money raised from the sale of these cups will benefit each of our athletic teams.”

The promotion of the mugs has been hard to miss when entering Randall Library. Flyers hang on the windows near Port City Java, and the coffee shop’s counters are covered with Sammy Seahawk sticky notes naming those who have purchased the mugs. So far, the Randall Library Port City Java alone has sold 180 mugs.

While raising money for the Athletic Department stands out as the biggest reason for the sales, there are other incentives that keep sales high.

Students can purchase the mugs using their food dollars or Seahawk Bucks.  When purchasing the mugs, students also have the opportunity to get 25 cents off every drink purchase and their first coffee refill is free.

Gene Daniels, the manager at Randall Library’s Port City Java, does not know when the fundraiser will end, but he plans on selling the mugs until they run out. The mugs are quite a popular purchase.

“People that don’t have the money right then, they generally will come back and get it the next couple of times or tell their friends,” Daniels said. “The word of mouth has been very good on campus, and the kids have gone crazy with it. It’s been very well here.”

So far, Daniels’ observation is correct. Students seem interested in buying the mugs, and others who did not know about the mugs liked the idea for the fundraiser. Andrew Lloyd, a UNCW student, recently found out about the fundraiser, and he thinks the idea would be great for the Athletic Department.

“It sounds like it would be profitable and a good marketing tool,” Lloyd said.

If the fundraiser continues its streak of sales, the community could see it repeated in years to come. Bass acknowledges the fact that fundraising is new to the Athletic Department, but he does not hesitate to partake in such opportunities in the future.

“Most of our external fundraisers have evolved around specific events, which have all been successful and provided financial support and generated community engagement for UNCW Athletics,” Bass said. “With only a $10 purchase of these limited edition UNCW travel cups at Port City Java, the community is able to support UNCW Athletics. It’s a win-win all the way around and we would consider doing it again next year.”

The fundraiser not only raises money for student athletes, but it also spreads UNCW’s brand, shows a partnership between two successful local businesses and gets the community involved with the university.