This Fall, four business spaces within the University Center will close their doors to make way for new on-campus vendors including the Alternative Copy Shop, Subway, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and Root 217.
The Alternative Copy Shop is relocating from its Pardall Road location, where it has been since 1975, to replace the FedEx store that is currently housed in the UCen.
Wendy’s, Chilitos and Gaucho Deli will also vacate to make room for the center’s three new dining options, which open in October.
Founded in Santa Barbara by Gaucho alumnus Walt Wilson, the Alternative Copy Shop specializes in photocopying, printing, graphic design, binding and customized course materials, and beat out larger competitors, such as OfficeMax, for the space.
After his father graduated from UCSB in 1950, Wilson followed suit and met his wife, a fellow alumna. Wilson said the new location will be more convenient for both businesses and students like his daughter, an incoming freshman.
“I’m really excited about the move; there’s a huge amount of traffic at the UCen — more than Pardall,” Wilson said. “We’ve already noticed a huge pickup in walk-in traffic. It’s the same clients, same equipment, but it’s a nice, modern building.”
The Alternative also plans to expand its services to include printing customized signs, banners and T-shirts and plans to sponsor T-shirt design contests.
UCen Director Alan Kirby said the business will be a valuable addition to the existing merchants, especially as it doesn’t feature a well-known brand name and instead promotes community business efforts.
“There is value in having a branded concept, but there’s also value in having local franchises,” Kirby said. “In some cases, local businesses are both: It could be a local person who owns a franchise or a corporate concept. But when we do a request for proposals, we offer an array of points in picking the winning bid: price, convenience, locality and branded identity.”
As opposed to previous fast food options, Root 217 will offer organic, local food options to the campus community and incorporate sustainable practices — even sustainable plates and utensils — into every aspect of the dining experience.
Director of UCen Dining Services Sue Hawkins said the UCen’s sales have declined over the past few years, making it apparent that the university needed to rethink its culinary offerings.
“I think the three new tenants will provide a lot of new and interesting food choices and will appeal to a wide variety of guests,” Hawkins said, “Subway has great value; Wahoo’s Fish Tacos provides healthy Mexican food with vegan, gluten and dairy-free items. Root 217 will focus on hamburgers, fries, chicken and fish purchased sustainably.”
Second-year biopsychology major Molly Rose Morrissey said the renovations will give Gaucho dining options a much-needed update.
“Once I heard that the university was making an initiative toward healthier food for their students, I was thrilled,” Morrissey said. “I think these modifications are going to serve the student body both physically and mentally.”