J Street coffee shop to stay open later for trial-period

Students may be irritated with Gelman Library’s Starbucks 10 p.m. closing time, but food service provider Sodexho announced this week it will keep its J Street Coffee shop – Grounds for Change – open until midnight.

Grounds for Change is now open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but starting Dec. 4, the fair-trade coffee venue will reopen its register from 10 p.m. to midnight for a two-week trial period. If the extra hours are popular and lucrative, Sodexho said it will consider making the change permanent, according to a press release from Casey Pond, director of the Student Association’s Dining Services Commission.

“If sales rise, (Sodexho) will strongly consider extending hours for the entirety of second semester,” wrote Pond in the release. “It is very important that students show support for this new option.”

Pond said the extended hours are an inevitable change, but Starbucks’ recent reduction of its operating hours was a push in the right direction.

“Eventually, I believe that this would have been a natural progression; however, the main reason this became a pressing issue now is that a late-night coffee option was something that many students have been requesting since the reduction of Starbucks’ hours, especially as we enter finals,” Pond wrote in an e-mail.

Before Starbucks reduced its hours, it would typically close at 11 p.m. or midnight.

Although Pond said coffee sales traditionally go up during finals week, Sam Ramos, the retail operations director for Sodexho, said he was unsure that finals week would result in more coffee consumption on campus.

“We don’t know that yet,” Ramos said. “We don’t know the history, we’re learning the history.” Sodexho became GW’s primary food service provider last summer after Aramark terminated its contract with the University.

Ramos added that Sodexho has not determined what amount of coffee sales would constitute enough to enact a permanent change in hours.

Junior Chris Moessner said he drinks coffee almost every day, but expects to drink more during finals week.

“Extra time in the library means extra coffee,” he said, adding that he doesn’t expect to frequent Grounds for Change, despite the change in hours, since Starbucks is located right in front of the library.

Freshman Melis Hamurculu said she waits in line at Starbucks every day, but said she would go to Grounds for Change during finals because of the extended hours.

“Because of studying, I need the coffee,” she said.

Pond said he plans to spread the word about Ground for Change’s new hours with poster ads, e-mails and word-of-mouth campaigns. Pond added that advertisements in general should boost business at the new coffee shop.

“One of the main reasons that Grounds for Change has not done well so far this year is that students are not aware of its existence,” Pond said. “The product they sell is very high quality, and this will give students a chance to experience their product during a time when they would be purchasing coffee anyway.”

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