Central Campus library opening coffee shop

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By: Steve Forrest
Something big will soon be brewing at CPCC’s Central Campus Library. On September 1, Victory Coffee shop will open with a variety of pastries and coffees to enjoy.

During regular semester hours, the coffee bar will be open Monday through Thursday, 7:30am-7pm pm; Friday 7:30am-noon; and Saturday, 9am-noon. Hours are subject to change during semester breaks and during the summer.

Prices will range from $1.00 for a small regular coffee to $3.90 for a major (large) size specialty coffee. 

In December 2003, CPCC did some minor renovations to the library, most notably re-carpeting the first floor. But they didn’t lay carpet on the entire floor.

Just to the left of the main entrance lies an inconspicuous plot of yellow and white tile adorned by some very normal reading chairs. David Goble, dean of Library Services, hopes that this area will soon become the library’s own full service coffee shop.

“David had the idea that wherever people read books, they like to have coffee,” said Jeff Friar, executive director of Facilities Management. “We knew some time ago that this was a possibility.”

The seed was planted over the 2003 winter break when Facilities appropriated the first floor corner of the library for future coffee shop use, according to Friar. But it wasn’t until an initial meeting with vendors in October 2005 that the idea took off.

“Space at the college is managed very closely, and any time you want to use any campus land you have to go through the appropriate channels,” said Bob Anderson, director of Administrative Services. This included a presentation in which Anderson and Goble proposed to use a first floor kiosk for a coffee shop.

The proposal was accepted, and an April 17 meeting with the CPCC cabinet is expected to yield the final green light on the project, according to Anderson. “We’ll meet with the cabinet. Hopefully we’ll get the okay then we’ll move forward from there and make it happen,” he said.

Goble stressed that the coffee shop is first and foremost intended to enhance the learning experience for CPCC students.

“Our primary goal is to make the library more inviting and comfortable for students,” Goble said. “We want this place to be student friendly.”

Goble added that the coffee shop would also create an environment that would encourage student and staff interaction, as well as provide employment to students.
The library has already sent two surveys out to faculty and staff, the results of which Goble called “overwhelmingly positive.” “There are always going to be a couple of concerns here and there but the vast majority has been very positive,” Goble said of response to the coffee shop survey.

Some staff believe the coffee shop will bring an influx of unwanted spills and trash to the library. Library specialist Gloria Onukwufor is one of the concerned staff members. “It may help students to study better and wake them up, but I just think it would be a mess, just a lot of spills,” she said.

Goble believes this is a calculated risk. “People have always brought food and drinks into the library,” he said. “I’m sitting here drinking right now, and I’m no more coordinated, probably less coordinated than most of our students.”
The main obstacle in the plans remains the site itself. The Hagemeyer Learning Resource Center was built in 1968 and would require renovations roughly to the tune of $5,000, Jeff Friar estimates.

“Those coffee pots pull a lot of power,” Friar said. Compounding this problem is the fact that the company that manufactured most of the electrical components in the 38-year-old building went out of business 28 years ago, making the unique parts necessary for renovations not only hard to find, but also quite expensive, Friar said.

Two vendors were selected as finalists from an original field of six. The two gave presentations on Feb. 22 and participated in site visits on Feb. 28, said Anderson.
The search for vendors was slow going at first. “The community college environment is a difficult one for a business to be profitable because there is not a steady customer base,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t operate on a typical 52-week fiscal year schedule.”

Despite this, Goble estimated roughly 7,000 people pass through the library’s doors each week, providing an ample amount of prospective customers for the coffee shop.

The school will see small revenue based on a percentage of sales of the coffee that would go towards library maintenance and electricity, Anderson said. 
The library coffee shop is not without precedent. In 1999 the Stanford Public Library signed a contract with Starbucks that allowed the coffeehouse to operate from inside their facilities, according to an August 4, 1999 “New York Times” article. It was the second library in the nation, after one in Portland, OR. to do so.
Also, as of fall 2004, the Florida State University campus had at least five operational Starbuck’s on and around their campus, said a July 7, 2004 article in the Tallahassee Democrat.

But Starbuck’s fans need not get their hopes up. Anderson effectively ruled out the Seattle-based coffee colossus as a possibility. “We’re trying to keep it competitive and affordable for our students,” he said. Victory Coffee is the new vendor and they are projected to be open for the beginning of school in the Fall.


Coffee Shop just part of food service history at CPCC

By: Steve Forrest
A coffee shop will be the latest installment in a long line of vendors CPCC has provided for students.

There is currently a Bojangles in the new Academic and Performing Arts Center, located on Elizabeth Ave. This was preceded by Chic-fil-a, which was housed on the bottom floor of the Van Every Building, and a CPCC-run, cafeteria-style restaurant called Little Dino’s (later renamed Sandela’s), also in the Van Every Building, said Bob Anderson, director of Administrative Services.

CPCC originally had a contract with the food service provider FSI, which operated the Chic-fil-a and Little Dino’s restaurants. Under that contract, FSI had exclusive rights to all food service on campus, which would have prohibited CPCC from building their own coffee shop on campus, Anderson explained.

“The Chic-fil-a was good food, but it never made a good profit. It was just too expensive,” said Jeff Friar, executive director of Facilities Management, about the fast-food chain’s closing. “However, the Bojangles seems to be doing very well because of the price-point system they have,” he added, referring to the wealth of menu options that Bojangles offers.

The vacancies left in the Van Every Building are currently being used as short-term storage facilities for the school, Friar explained.

Bojangles, the only vendor currently housed on campus, has no exclusivity clause in their contract, which will allow CPCC to build a coffee shop on campus without conflict, said Anderson. The final coffee shop proposal will go before the CPCC cabinet on April 17. If cleared by the cabinet, the coffee shop could be open by next semester.

“I’d like to have it opened up by the summer semester. That would give the vendor time to set up and feel out the market,” Anderson said.