Students of Georgetown, Inc. is planning to move Uncommon Grounds, its oldest coffee shop, from Sellinger Lounge to within the university bookstore on the second floor of the Leavey Center.
The relocation, which is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 15, marks the first partnership between Barnes & Noble, the university’s new bookstore vendor, and a non-Starbucks company, according to The Corp’s incoming President and CEO Melina Hsiao (COL ’18).
The new storefront will serve as an entrance to the bookstore from the esplanade and will include an outdoor seating area on the esplanade level of the Leavey Center.
The blueprints and mockups for the new Uncommon Grounds show a rectangular space with doors leading into the second floor of Barnes & Noble and a staircase to the new location and seating areas.
According to Hsiao, the new location will feature more study space and a seating area, making the under-utilized esplanade more accessible to students.
“Moving upstairs into a new space gives us an opportunity to really revamp and rebrand what Uncommon Grounds is,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao said the move is significant for both The Corp and Barnes & Noble.
“Doing the partnership with Barnes & Noble is a really big thing for us, it’s a really big deal for Barnes & Noble as well,” Hsiao said. “We’re doing it in-house, so it’s the first time with a student-run business.”
Barnes & Noble College Regional Manager Chris Colbert said the company is optimistic about this new venture.
“We are thrilled that The Corp will begin operating the Uncommon Grounds cafe inside the Georgetown Bookstore this summer. The Corp is an exceptional organization that is similarly dedicated to supporting and creating opportunities for Georgetown students to succeed both in and out of the classroom,” Colbert wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The university announced Barnes & Noble as the new vendor for its bookstore last April, replacing its current vendor, Follett.
After the renovation, the current location of Uncommon Grounds will become additional space in Sellinger Lounge.
According to The Corp’s incoming Chief Financial Officer Jared D’Sa (COL ’19), the move, which is entirely financed by The Corp, will be a large but rewarding investment.
“Though it is clearly a large initial investment, we believe that Uncommon Grounds will be profitable and help propel the company forward in the new year by reaching out to new parts of the Georgetown community,” D’Sa wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Furthermore, I think this gives us a great opportunity to perfect our operations and truly embody our motto of ‘students serving students.’”
D’Sa did not provide exact figures on how much it plans to invest.
Uncommon Grounds is planning to operate normal hours through Senior Week from May 13 to May 18, and will be closed over the summer for renovations before planning to reopen in September 2017, according to a press release sent to The Hoya. The coffeehouse will also likely change its hours after the relocation.
Uncommon Grounds Director Leia Idliby (COL ’18) said although the staff will miss the current location, the move is necessary.
“We love the current space, and we have a lot of memories there, but this is overall an extremely positive move,” Idliby wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It’s time for us to move, and the best part is that we’re still going to be the same Uncommon Grounds, just a floor up.”
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