Chartwells Dining Services will become the new manager for Paws Market in the LBJ Student Center in June due to the store’s current limited revenue that is not covering operating costs.
Jack Rahmann, director of the student center, said the facility is losing approximately $30,000 per year from Paws Market because of the cost of utilities, items sold and labor. The new management from Chartwells will allow for an increase in revenue for Student Business Services.
Student Buiness Services will receive nine percent commission from Chartwells, which is expected to generate $45,000 in revenue from Paws Market, Rahmann said.
“Now, that $45,000 is not all profit because we have to pay some for utilities, pay a little for insurance, but we’ll still come way ahead,” Rahmann said. “I figure we will at least come about $30,000 ahead.”
The revenue the student center receives from the store will contribute to the discussed expansion of the building, as well as the size of the store, Rahmann said. There will be minimal changes to the operations of Paws Market, however, the prices of items sold at the store will need to be increased.
“We can’t continue to sell everything we’re selling and having the student center fee subsidized for (Paws Market),” Rahmann said.
Chin-Hong Chua, resident district manager of Chartwells, said the price increase is estimated to be about three percent.
“I don’t want to have a price shock. So we will try to keep that in mind, but at the same time we need to operate (Paws Market) as a business entity,” Chua said.
Chartwells will need to examine the store’s current inventory and the prices from the vendors in order to determine any price increases, Chua said. Any increases will undergo a yearly review and require approval from university administrators, the Associated Student Government and the Residential Hall Association.
Students will now be able to purchase items with meal trades at the store, Chua said.
Brendan McNerney, international relations senior and student manager at Paws Market, said he is concerned the store will reflect other Chartwells businesses on campus.
“People are upset because they worry (Paws Market is) going to lose a lot of what it has now because there is a huge difference in the atmosphere, and I’m sure people have seen this going into Chartwells stores and Paws Market,” McNerney said.
Paws Market has offered students a “haven away” from other stores on campus, McNerney said.
“(The store has) provided good prices, it’s provided an inviting environment and it really offers a lot to student leadership,” McNerney said. “It allows people to advance and develop skills that will be extremely helpful in the real world.”
Rahmann said Paws Market will continue to maintain the same quality of service from student staff.
“In our agreement moving forward with Chartwells, all the students that work there will continue to have their jobs,” Rahmann said. “They will continue to be involved in supervisory and management decisions, and the products will stay the same.”
Students currently working at Paws Market will maintain the same hours and hourly pay if they choose to remain working at the store, Chua said. Student workers who work five hours will receive benefits such as getting a free meal.