Colonial Cash expands near campus

Students can now use their GWorld cards at off-campus food venues such as Quiznos, Wingo’s, The Perfect Pita and Washington Deli. The boutique Expressions and the Eurospa salon are also new to the program, which added 12 new Colonial Cash partners this semester.

The only businesses GW added to the program last year were the new venues located in University buildings, such as shops in J Street, Ivory Tower, Mitchell Hall and 1957 E St.

Newly added businesses are reporting a jump in sales to students.

Jim Dougherty, co-owner of the Washington Deli on 1990 K St., said business from students has gone up 50 percent since his store was added to the Colonial Cash program. Roughly 80 percent of students pay with their GWorld card, he said.

In front of the cash register, Dougherty displays a large sign informing students that they can now pay with Colonial Cash.

Despite the increased business, Dougherty said he thinks the Colonial Cash transaction fee – the amount GW and Blackboard take from each sale – is very high. He said Blackboard also charges a $15 monthly fee for GWorld partners.

Juice Zone, located on 20th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, had been trying to accept GWorld for a year before it became a partner in January, owner Amir Mostafavi said.

“If you’re going to do business around here – especially for business owners like ourselves – you have to be on GWorld,” Mostafavi said.

He added that business has increased since his store started accepting Colonial Cash.

“There is a lot of students who don’t know we are on GWorld, but that comes with time,” Mostafavi said.

Baja Fresh, a popular lunch spot next to Juice Zone, has also been approved to become a partner and is expecting to accept Colonial Cash soon, said Roxanne Castro, a shift manager at the restaurant. Previously, the Mexican venue had been on a wait list for more than a year.

A complete list of partners can be viewed at the GWorld Web site, http://gworld.gwu.edu. The GWorld card, similar to a debit card, allows students to use their Colonial Cash at nearly 100 on- and off-campus locations. About 60 of those businesses are classified as restaurants or food merchants.

GWorld card program director Deborah Wright said the University was able to add more partners due to an agreement GW signed with the D.C.-based software company Blackboard in October. The company’s infrastructure and technology allows it to manage partners’ accounts better than the University could.

Before the agreement with Blackboard was signed, there were about 70 businesses on a wait list to become Colonial Cash partners. Some businesses had been trying to become partners in the program for more than a year.

The University examines the products and services potential partners offer as well as their proximity to campus when considering whether to add a business to the program, Wright said.

Wright said new vendors interested in becoming partners continue to approach the GWorld office and that the University’s effort to add new partners is “ongoing.”

“Interest in the program has continued to be high,” she said.

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