At the start of a wintry semester, students were greeted with a hot new change in the Student Union’s (SU) food vendor lineup. On Jan. 20., Starbucks opened for business in the former location of Seattle’s Best and within its first week has shown noticable success, according to Executive Director of Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) Steve Deutsch.
In addition to the popularity of the Starbucks brand and the success of its locations on other SUNY campuses, this semester’s coffee shop swap was also due in part to complications that CAS faced with Seattle’s Best.
Deutsch said that since the location in the SU was a fully-licensed Seattle’s Best store, they wouldn’t allow CAS to make modifications to the service line in order to move customers along quicker in the mornings.
“Because we had a contract with Seattle’s Best, the only way they would allow us out of it would be to go to their sister company, Starbucks,” Deutsch said. “Seattle’s Best allowed us out of the contract, and it’s sort of like the perfect storm. We knew Starbucks was going to be successful and we would have more flexibility.”
Since the new addition isn’t a fully licensed Starbucks location, CAS can decide which products they will and will not have available for purchase.
“We don’t carry a lot of the other items you would find at a regular Starbucks, which actually gives us a lot more flexibility to set up the store the way that we want it,” Deutsch said.
Despite it not being fully licensed, the Starbucks in the SU offers all of the typical staple products of the company including coffee, teas, blended frappuccino beverages, smoothies and hot chocolate.
Psychology graduate student Jeysa Williams said her caramel macchiato tasted better than ever.
“I’m surprised that it tastes just like a regular Starbucks,” she said. “I am so happy about the switch — it’s great here.”
The campus first got a glimpse of the green and white Starbucks coffee cups last fall when a small Starbucks kiosk was opened in the lobby of Sojourner Truth Library. According to Deutsch, this didn’t replace the Jazzman’s coffee stand that once occupied the space — it was already closed down during renovations of the library and the decision was made to try a different brand instead.
“In the interim we decided to try Starbucks there, and that had been phenomenally successful,” Deutsch said. “That little kiosk [in the library] was doing the same amount of business as the Seattle’s Best [in the Student Union] was.”
Deutch said along with other students, he is happy about the change.