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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Memorial Union construction an obstacle for businesses

Lower Freeborn is how it’s spelled. But it’s often pronounced with a question mark at the end – “Lower Freeborn?” – by students struggling to find Campus Copies after their move downstairs.

Campus Copies is just one of the ASUCD units forced to relocate for the 2009-2010 school year by the construction of the new ASUCD Coffee House. Others are Campus Copiespartner, Classical Notes, which joins them in the Lower Freeborn maze, and the Post Office, which now resides in the Smith room on the second floor of the MU.

“We often hear about people wondering where Campus Copies/Classical Notes is,said junior Lauren McCarthy, who manages Classical Notes.Professors are really trying to help us out by telling their students specifically where to find us.

Classical Notes hires a note-taker for most major lectures on campus. The note-taker is paid to take detailed notes from every class period and submit them to Classical Notes. Then, if a student realizes they are behind and can’t get the notes from a friend, they can purchase them from Classical Notes.

However, the process was easier when Campus Copies was next door, instead of down the hall, said employee Aaron Winkler.

“Part of the deal was that when people came here, our policy was when they asked for an archive we’d copy it right away, or within five minutes,Winkler said.But now we have to do something where they have to come back after 1 [p.m.] to pick it up, because we have to walk down the hall to run [the copies] off.

Winkler noted that while it still takes the same time for a booklet of notes to be produced, people working at Classical Notes would have to abandon students in line to go down the hall and serve the current customer immediately.

McCarthy said Classical Notesbusiness is still mostly normal and that they’ve actually run out of cash in the register several times.

“We’ve sold just as much as we usually do as far as our readers are concerned, and we’ve had pretty much a rush at the popular hours like last year,she said.

One type of customer that Campus Copies/Classical Notes has lost, though, is the walk-up customer, Winkler said.

“People would pass by and ask who we were and what we did, and they’d end up buying notes, so our influx ofrandom peoplecustomer basewe don’t have that anymore,he said.

But Campus Copies is not alone in feeling a lack of walk-up business, said senior Robert Hunt, director of the Post Office.

“It’s been a change, having fewer customers, but it’s not too major,Hunt said.But people can’t really find us now that we’re upstairs and out of the way.

The Post Office is now located on the second floor of the MU, facing the elevator.

“We have signs, but some people still don’t know how to get here,Hunt said.They forget that there are multiple levels to the MU and keep looking around the old one.

Of the relocated units, the future benefactor of the construction, the Coffee House, has felt their move the hardest – both economically and convenience-wise. Director Sharon Coulson said they are currently experiencing their lowest number in the past 20 years.

“There’s no reason to expect that we could maintain the same level of business during this interim year,she said.

A side effect of the relocation was cutting one of their most popular offerings, the Tex Mex Grill, said Coulson.

“That was not what wanted to do, but the kitchen trailers cannot handle the cooking and storage required to offer our popular Tex Mex Grill menu,she said.

The greater difficulty though, has been working out of rooms that were not built to house restaurants and with limited storage space.

“We wish they had several things they don’t, such as ventilation hoods for grilling, gas hookups, floor drains and walk-in refrigerators,Coulson said.The kitchen trailers are small as well, and we have about one-tenth of the cold storage space we had at the old Coho.

Coulson said even with daily deliveries, the limited storage space still forces them to curtail their menu – including a popular breakfast item.

“Many morning customers miss our breakfast burritos, and we hate to disappoint our customers,she said.

 

MIKE DORSEY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org. 

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