North Texas Daily

Construction begins on new campus Starbucks with mixed reactions

Construction begins on new campus Starbucks with mixed reactions

Construction begins on new campus Starbucks with mixed reactions
June 27
08:30 2019

Construction began Monday on a new stand-alone Starbucks between the Hurley Administration Building and the Music Building and is set to open this fall.

There is currently one full-service Starbucks on campus in the University Union, but the new Starbucks is planned to be a walk-up establishment designed for students and staff on the go.

Daniel Armitage, associate vice president of student affairs, said one of the main reasons behind this construction is to pull some customers from the Union location.

“We are averaging in excess of 110 transactions per hour at the Union Starbucks,” Armitage said. “That makes the Union location undersized and not meeting performance standards for wait time.”

Armitage said wait times were based on demand and not management, and the new location will pull some sales from the Union while increasing revenue.

“I guess you could say popular demand with the extreme sales of the Union,” he said. “We needed to build it close to the Union and offer the full-service menu.”

Helen Bailey, facilities director for planning, design and construction, said the new Starbucks will be an added amenity that enhances the newly constructed west library mall plaza area that was completed last April.

The new Starbucks will join a variety of food and drink options on and off campus, which includes Aura Coffee House, located on West Hickory Street.

Aura Coffee House owner Kim McKibben said she was not fazed by the plans for a new campus coffee shop location.

“It happens,” McKibben said. “UNT tends to keep all of the students’ money they can locked up on campus.”

McKibben said she is aware of how the university’s FLEX system — which allows students to put money on their ID cards and use them in shops around campus — works and said students should be able to use those dollars at off-campus establishments because she said it “would be a great help to small retailors in Denton.”

Regarding competition, McKibben said that small, independent coffee shops can’t really compete with Starbucks or other franchised stores. McKibben said when the Union Starbucks opened, her business lost a significant percentage of sales compared to the previous year.

“We just coexist with them,” she said. “Independent coffee shops provide a different level of products and service to our customers.”

When it comes to location, McKibben said she wonders why they did not place a Starbucks in the new Welcome Center and the new dorm.

“It used to be that students filled the seats during the school year,” McKibben said. “The main complaint from potential customers that are not students is [that there is] not enough parking in the area.”

At the end of the day, McKibben said an educated consumer is a good thing, and that many individuals have never experienced coffee or coffee drinks outside of franchise markets.

For psychology junior Andie Thi-Streety, practicality was a key selling point in the new Starbucks.

“It’s easy to go right before class,” Thi-Streety said. “It’s hard to study there for long because it can get noisy and crowded.”

Education junior Serephina Martinez said she thinks that while chains like Starbucks are more accessible, she feels that people “prefer other chains for the uniqueness and atmosphere.”

“I honestly don’t understand the need of another Starbucks when they can just have a different brand to give more variety of coffee choices,” Martinez said.

Featured Image: Courtesy of UNT Facilities

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Richard Johndrow

Richard Johndrow

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  1. Jim
    Jim June 28, 10:39

    Starbucks is an addiction, plain and simple. The problem is you age and cannot keep guzzling lattes. I’m working on the skin disease I gave to myself.

    Reply to this comment
  2. CaseyCav
    CaseyCav July 01, 16:14

    In a perfect world the university would have allowed local coffee houses to bid on providing coffee to the campus community. West Oak Coffee or Aura or others could benefit.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kim
      Kim July 02, 12:40

      Mr. Armitage and the Dean of the art school wanted local as an option for the Art building. Aura and West Oak both worked with the university as a possible local distributor. I am not completely sure what happened but I believe the higher powers nixed his progressive ideas.
      He has also proposed allowing FLEX dollars to be used off campus but the excuse is that the software would cost too much. Sounds like a smokescreen.
      UNT continues to destroy local surrounding businesses through their practices and currently by just using eminent domain to crush book stores and food services that do not line their pockets.

      Reply to this comment

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