Date for Grove’s Reopening Uncertain

    With additional indoor seating and a fresh coat of paint,
    the Grove Caffe is nearly ready to reopen its doors, though an exact date is
    still uncertain. Former RIMAC 101 Cafe Concessions Manager Cleveland Thomas
    will now manage the A.S. enterprise, which was under threat of closure last
    year due to a longstanding $17,000 debt.

    Grove Student Manager Randell Baltazar said there are plans
    to open the cafe as early as Oct. 22. However, Thomas and A.S. Associate Vice
    President of Enterprise Operations Chelsea Maxwell have said there is no
    estimated date for reopening the eatery, mainly because of the ongoing Student
    Center construction that negatively affects much of the area’s traffic flow,
    though they hope to open the Grove later this quarter.

    “Last time I spoke with [Thomas], he mentioned that he would
    like to open the Grove next Monday,” Baltazar said in an e-mail. “If he’s
    changed his mind then he has yet to inform me … it’s definitely doable seeing
    as I just finished writing the schedule for next week.”

    The council’s decision at the end of last Spring Quarter to
    hire a nonstudent manager was contentious as Grove employees want to emphasize
    the importance of keeping the cafe student-run.

    “I am unsure as to whether [Thomas] will uproot the Grove
    from its financial deficits without meddling with its culture and heritage,”
    Baltazar said. “I hope for the best but I feel the worst to come.”

    Debate broke out regarding the enterprise’s future when
    Crafts Center Director and former partial Grove owner Ron Carlson liquidated
    his share of the struggling eatery. A.S. councilmembers and Grove employees
    discussed a number of options, including a potential transition from its status
    as an A.S. enterprise to a co-op or the possibility of a managing partnership
    with the Rady School of Management.

    Though Grove employees met with Food Co-op members in the
    spring, the cafe’s standing as an A.S. enterprise impedes it from any such

    According to Baltazar, Grove employees corresponded with the
    Rady School for months, but it was the A.S. Council that pulled the plug on the
    proposed partnership in favor of hiring an outside manager.

    “In my opinion, this potential partnership was only
    considered during the school year to appease the students,” Baltazar said.
    “Once the staff and school body left for summer break, [A.S. councilmembers]
    conveniently choose the option of hiring a full-time manager without a student
    body to oppose their decision.”

    At its last meeting of the 2006-07 academic year,
    councilmembers passed legislation to approve the creation of a Grove manager
    position. The A.S. Council formed a hiring committee to give input into the
    selection process. The five-person team included Baltazar, Maxwell and A.S.
    President Marco Murillo, but the final decision was made by Student Life
    Business Office Manager John Hughes.

    “The hiring of a new manager was the path we decided upon
    because we realize the Grove needs stable management,” Maxwell said in an
    e-mail. “Through the talks we had with the Rady School it became evident that
    they could not provide the full-time management the Grove needed if it were to
    survive as an enterprise.”

    To integrate the new manager into the cafe’s structure,
    employees will report to Thomas, who will then report to the student services
    business director — the position to which managers of the other A.S.
    enterprises report — and meet with Maxwell each week.

    The council is also forming an advisory committee composed
    of employees and councilmembers that will meet weekly to review profits, losses
    and major issues facing the Grove.

    Both Maxwell and Baltazar emphasized a lack of communication
    between the council and its enterprise last year, and these changes are efforts
    to prevent such a breakdown in the future.

    In addition to boosting publicity, Thomas said he hopes to
    pull the Grove out of debt by introducing new food options, reorganizing
    procedures to make them more cost-effective, helping to train and guide
    students and focusing on solid day-to-day business practices. He is currently
    looking to hire between 15 and 20 new workers, in addition to the nine
    returning employees.

    “[We want] to give the student employees and customers a
    unique, hipster vibe and serene atmosphere where they can learn about
    business,” Thomas said.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal