By: Steven Chmielash
In hopes of revitalizing and drawing more traffic to A-building, Tim Hortons opened on Sept. 16 replacing former spot, Thunder Alley Pita Alley.
“I think the location is an underutilized location,” said Mary Baxter, acting general manager of Food Services. “I think the Tim Hortons and the new seating area will definitely bring people to that area.”
It’s been over 10 years since Thunder Alley Pita Alley opened its doors at Algonquin and while some good things come to an end, some locations around campus need to be reinvested in over time.
Brent Brownlee, acting director of Ancillary Services, said that the timing was right to bring Tim Hortons to Algonquin.
“We’re putting in what we feel is going to be a winning choice in terms of a brand and business plan that in the end, it’s a safe investment,” said Brownlee. “We know Tim Hortons will provide the support for the product for us to make and deliver.”
Since Food Services is here to provide students what they want, while adding variety and maximizing customer satisfaction, Tim Hortons was a natural fit at the college.
“We’re fulfilling something that’s been asked by students and the community for a few years and I think it’s a positive move forward,” said Baxter.
Despite the fact that another coffee shop opened at Algonquin, there won’t be any unruly competition coming from Starbucks in the Student Commons.
Tim Hortons is an “additional service,” said Baxter. “It is two different customer bases: a Starbucks versus a Tim Hortons. Some will go to both but in general it’s a service to the students that was requested.”
Both franchises are different from one another and students know what they’re getting from both.
“Starbucks is sort of high end,” said Brownlee. “Tim Hortons is offering quality products at a value price so that’s going to appeal to students as well for people not wanting to spend on the high end, they can have that choice.”
There were plans in place to bring Tim Hortons to Algonquin for two years now, but Brownlee said that the project really moved forward around February. It was given the green light in the spring.
Lorenzo Bruno, manager of facilities planning and development team, made arrangements for the construction during the summer months which, as he described, wasn’t an easy task.
Bruno said that the project was a bit of a rushed job in the sense that it didn’t go through the normal process. Generally, it would take four to five months to deliver a project of this caliber but in this case the construction only took about three months.
“It probably would have taken us two to three months longer to do the work,” said Bruno. “This was fast-tracked and, when you fast-track a job, some things are not worked out to the greatest of detail. But we did our very best and I think we covered all the angles.”
The budgeted cost of the project was slated to be $1.2 million. However, during construction Bruno and his team found that some things were going to cost more than anticipated so a few luxuries were withheld to maintain budget.
These luxuries include specialty lighting and acoustic paneling, both of which can be added later if they decide to do so.
With new construction projects, timelines are a bit loose due to unforeseen circumstances. The goal was to open on Sept. 3, 2013 but delayed for almost two weeks.
Brownlee, for one, is pleased with the work that’s been accomplished and is looking forward to what lies ahead.
“It’s been a fun challenge but we really want to meet the demands of the students and it seems to be something that everyone’s waiting for,” he said.