A.S. Advances Plans for Year-Round Sun God, Greek Store

In an attempt to cater to a perceived student demand for A.S. merchandise and Greek apparel, A.S. councilmembers are slowly but surely hammering out a business proposal for a permanent A.S. store, to be completed and submitted to the University Center Advisory Board by the end of Fall Quarter 2009.

For the past several years, the A.S. Council has set aside a few weeks during Spring Quarter to open a temporary venue for its Sun God paraphernalia. Over the past six months, however, the council has looked to make the store a permanent fixture that would operate throughout the entire school year and offer an expanded range of merchandise, including more council and Greek-related stock.

Councilmembers set up a committee at the start of Fall Quarter to address the feasibility of the store and how to make it a reality. According to committee chair and campuswide senator Tobias Haglund, the committee’s work is nearing completion.

“We’re hoping to have the proposal ready for UCAB by the end of the quarter,” Haglund said.

Once a proposal is submitted and accepted by UCAB, councilmembers can focus on other aspects of the store such as its location and construction. After a plan is approved, it typically takes anywhere from six months to a year for a store to open, University Centers Director Paul Terzino said.

“For this kind of business, it might take three to nine months,” Terzino said. “Until we see a business plan though, it’s really hard to tell.”

Councilmembers hope to have the store open by Spring Quarter 2010, but they may be forced to postpone the opening until Fall Quarter 2010 if the plan is approved, Vice President of Finance and Resources Peter Benesch said.

“In an ideal world, I would like to have this up and ready to go before Sun God this year,” Benesch said. “Having it open for more or less a quarter would be great in terms of getting ourselves visible to the UCSD community for the next fall. In a more realistic world though, it may be opening the beginning of fall — it’s really hard to predict.”

While the council’s first step in constructing the store is completing a proposal for UCAB, there are many other obstacles after that.

“It’s not solely dependent on our efforts,” Benesch said. “It’s actually dependent on a lot of administrators and committees deciding they’re willing to undergo this venture. We have UCAB, approval of vice chancellors after that, the A.S. Council has to approve of it — several administrative steps need to be taken.”

A major issue in the creation of the store is determining where on campus it would be located.

“We’re looking at any open spaces in Price Center — maybe in the old post office area or across from the Loft,” Haglund said. “We’re just looking to get an idea in our heads of what it would look like.”

According to Terzino, should the A.S. store take up shop in Price Center, the council will likely pay a much lower rent than other non-student businesses on campus.

“We are hoping to get a break on rent,” Haglund said. “If not, we understand the position UCAB is in. We do hope that is something that would be available to us though, since we do offer a service to students along with just merchandise.”

While most vendors generally pay between $3 and $5 per square foot each month in rent, University Centers may be willing to offer the store a lower rate.

“It depends on what’s being sold and how much revenue they expect,” Terzino said. “It’s kind of a broad range.”

Once created, the A.S. store would draw half of its profits from Greek apparel, a quarter from Sun God merchandise and the final quarter from seasonal items such as graduation or holiday-related items, Benesch said. The council wants to ensure that no items would overlap with the bookstore’s merchandise.

“Students want to enjoy the university,” Benesch said. “They are very proud of events like Sun God. They enjoy them, and we want to give them things that can commemorate these things they are proud of.”

Readers can contact Ayelet Bitton at [email protected].

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