A.S. Store Postponed to Spring Quarter

Plans for the debut of Triton Outfitters — an on-campus store selling Sun God and Greek merchandise — have been pushed back again to early Spring Quarter.

The idea for Triton Outfitters was first conceived in 2009 as the senator project of then-Campus-Wide Senator Tobias Haglund.
Since A.S. Council allocated $204,000 in start-up costs to the store at its last meeting in Spring Quarter 2010, the store falls  under the jurisdiction of Vice President of Finance and Resources Andrew Ang and Associate Vice President of Enterprise Operations Brian McEuen.

According to McEuen, he and Ang expected to have the necessary financial details finalized by the end of summer, but it will now take all of Fall Quarter and Winter Quarter to reach completion due to planning difficulties like receiving approval from the university.

McEuen said he expects the store to open in March or April. He and Ang will present the long-term plan and the financial obligations of Triton Outfitters to council at the end of the quarter.

“If the store can’t open Winter Quarter, that’s okay because the campus is pretty dead in the winter,” McEuen said. “The merchandise we plan to offer in spring, with Sun God apparel, will draw in a larger crowd.”

According to McEuen, the council is working with Trio Display, a retail store designer, to design the interior layout.
Though a contract with University Centers hasn’t been discussed yet, one option is for rent to be set at $2 per square foot for the 634-square-foot space — which comes to a total of $1,268 per month. This will be finalized by February 2011.

“As of now, we’re still working a long-term [financial] strategy for the store,” Ang said. “All the start up-costs have already been allocated by A.S. in the prior term. We don’t want to overspend the budget, but we haven’t worked out how long it will take to break even in profit.”

The $204,000 is expected to encompass all start-up, construction, merchandise and employee costs.
The council is also still waiting for approval from the UCSD Retail and Commercial Services Advisory Committee Charge — responsible for advising long-term planning for on-campus retail activity — that reports to the Vice Chancellor’s Business Affairs, Resource Management & Planning.

“We’ve gotten approval from the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Office, so the next thing to do is await the approval from the Campus Charge Committee, which could take about five months,” McEuen said. “We’re confident that we’ll get the full approval.”

The committee is comprised of members from Academic Senate, Business Affairs, Resource Management & Planning, Student Affairs, two undergraduate students, one graduate student and the three directors from the University Bookstore, Housing and Dining Services and University Centers. The directors are John Turk, Mark Cunningham and Paul Terzino, respectively.
According to McEuen, Triton Outfitters will be located in Price Center on the West Wing balcony, two doors down from Kaplan Testing Centers.

“The mark-up on merchandise will be the same for all organizations, regardless of size or the number of items they want to sell,” McEuen said. “We haven’t worked out a set percentage mark-up yet but retailers typically charge a 20- to-40-percent overhead.”

The store plans to have a regular set of merchandise — such as items celebrating the 50th anniversary of UCSD, A.S. apparel — along with seasonal and event-related merchandise for the Sun God festival and registered student org merchandise, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and lanyards. Triton Outfitters has not yet contacted organizations interested in partnering.

“I don’t think small organizations like ours [30 members] can guess how we can use the space to our benefit until they come out with some guidelines,” Kristin Muench, of the registered organization Out of Office Hours said. “It’s such a small space, and there will be so much competition from larger organizations to use it — Greeks, large departmental groups and the newly-defunded media organizations — that I don’t think most student organizations will benefit from its existence.”

Out of Office Hours recently registered as an organization in the 2009-10 school year — but with the possibility of selling merchandise at the store — Muench does not think it will significantly increase the organization’s visibility.

“Also, University Centers has struggled financially for some time now,” Muench said. “I expect the overhead for selling in the store will be pretty high. Student orgs had better find a dirt-cheap way of making products priced, so that people will buy on a whim if they want to make any profit at all.”

A.S. Council has not contacted all 580 registered on-campus organizations about the store or conducted surveys with the orgs, but they still remain hopeful about Triton Outfitters.

“We think a lot of the Greeks and organizations would like to have their merchandise sold in the store to increase their visibility on campus,” McEuen said. “Triton Outfitters will be a good way to bring out student unity and expand the constituency of many organizations.”

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