In the face of the fiscal crunch, campus vendors have begun cutting business hours and upping food prices.
Nicoletti’s Coffee Shop once remained open until 1 a.m. on weekdays and was open for business on weekends. This quarter, however, the shop began closing its doors at 9 p.m. and shutting down altogether on weekends. At the Corner Store, meanwhile, shifts have been reduced and Sunday hours may soon be scrapped.
According to Corner Store employee Gus Aldana, the campus shop has been forced to cut employee shifts amid financial concerns.
“They’ve definitely been cutting hours,” Aldana, a fourth-year film & media studies major, said. “They have also been talking about not opening on Sunday during Spring Quarter.”
Aldana said the shortage of hours this quarter has negatively affected his ability to make ends meet
“Everyone is only getting twelve to thirteen hours so there really isn’t any room to hire anyone,” Aldana said. “There aren’t even enough hours to go around. My job used to pay my rent but now it just doesn’t.”
Scaling back on staff members has compromised the store’s ability to operate smoothly during the busiest points in the day, Aldana said.
“During the lunch time rushes there used to be three or four people behind the counter and now there are two,” Aldana said. “When people call in sick, short staff is bad because there are not that many people to call. Student managers are the ones who have taken it really hard.”
At Nicoletti’s, employee Dominic Garcia said reducing the hours of operation was a practical measure for the coffee shop to take.
“It was a better business decision for us [to close early] because the only people at 1 a.m. were CSOs,” Garcia, a third-year political science major said.
In addition to slashing hours, Corner Store employee Todd Hunt said popularly purchased items have been subject to price hikes.
“Most noticeable [increases of] prices are in gum and candy, because that is what is bought most,” Hunt, a fourth-year film & media studies major, said. “Gum has [gone] up like 30 to 50 cents. Silk Soy Milk used to be $0.99 and now it is $1.39.”
While the Corner Store has driven up the prices of some merchandise, Sue Hawkins, Director of UCen Dining Services, said chocolate goods were subject to the most increases.
“There were manufacturer price increases on chocolate,” Hawkins said. “I don’t have any choices, I have to pass them down.”