PEI

UPEISU coffee shop concerned about new Tim Hortons

Business at the student-run coffee stand called Mickey's Place is down 20 per cent in the two weeks since Tim Hortons opened just around the corner in the W.A. Murphy Student Centre, according to the UPEI student union.

Two coffee shops shouldn't be too many, says university

The new franchise replaced a Quiznos sub shop in the student centre. (Mitch Cormier/CBC )

Business at the student-run coffee stand called Mickey's Place is down 20 per cent in the two weeks since Tim Hortons opened just around the corner in the W.A. Murphy Student Centre, according to the UPEI student union.

"You have to compete on costs, you have to compete on price," said Clayton Smith the VP finance for the UPEISU, "and then you have to compete with the brand name." 

The student union said it doesn't operate the coffee stand to make money and any profits are used to create new jobs for UPEI students. 

Mickey's Place is owned and operated by the UPEISU. (Mitch Cormier/CBC )

Ten students are employed part time to run Mickey's Place, but those positions could be in jeopardy if business continues to drop.

"Worst case scenario we wouldn't lose all our student jobs, but they would just be moved over into one of our other businesses or services, but we would be looking at a significant decrease in those jobs," Smith added.

Tim Hortons added as part of food services contract

The Tim Hortons franchise replaced a sub shop and was part of the package of services offered by Chartwells Educational Dining Services — the successful bidder to supply food services to UPEI.

Both companies competing to provide food service at UPEI wanted to bring Tims to campus. (Mitch Cormier/CBC )

"Two bidders were invited to make public presentations to provide an overview of their proposals," UPEI said in an email to CBC News. "Both said they would operate a Tim Hortons in the W. A. Murphy Student Centre."

The university said Chartwells does hire UPEI students.

"Because of their new services they have more students working for them this year than in the past," read an email from UPEI, though the number of students hired as a result of the shop wasn't provided.

Ready to rumble

The university added that both of the coffee shops should be able to thrive given the loyalty of coffee drinkers to a particular brand — Mickey's Place serves Starbucks coffee, but purchases all of its baked goods from local suppliers.

Smith said the Student Union is trying to win back some customers. It is offering a buy five coffees get one free, and it is looking for other deals to offer in October. 

"We want to try and fight as hard as we can to save the student jobs that we do offer, so we do want to try and keep going."

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