One Green World Café on the move

Students who have walked past One Green World Café’s locked doors, dark interior and bright red “Closed” sign might be wondering what happened to the student space that opened last year with such excitement. The café has yet to open its doors within the first several weeks of the new fall semester.

But coffee-craving students have no need to worry; One Green World isn’t gone from Gannon University for good. Rather, it’s on the move.

Sam Hyman, technical director of campus events, said the café project has been no means been scrapped or terminated, but the café will move to and reopen in a different location that has yet to be determined.

A possible new home might be found in the newly renovated Nash Library, though no plans are completely finalized. The ideas and theme of the café will be kept intact, and the staff will still be composed of students.

“One Green World was and is a great venture,” Hyman said. “It was determined that the building at Fourth and Sassafras was not necessarily the best location for them to operate.

“It was kind of an experiment, and you don’t really know until you try.”

Dan Fromknecht, a sophomore studying business administration and sport and exercise science, said the café’s location was too far away to be a success.

“They need somewhere that’s more central to campus,” Fromknecht said.

Besides location, Hyman said the former Antler’s Pub space also suffered from being the wrong fit, literally.

“I think the facility itself may have been a little too large to work well with a coffee shop,” Hyman said. “There’s a lot more to that building than a coffee shop, so it wasn’t the best fit.”

While events like Gannon’s English department poetry open mics succeeded in bringing traffic through the space, Hyman said the day-to-day traffic just wasn’t enough to keep the business thriving.

“Those events were always really well-received,” Hyman said. “The issue is those events were so few and far between that the coffee shop business on its own wasn’t necessarily enough to sustain that facility.”

In the end, the space simply wasn’t being utilized to its potential.

“Eventually the folks who were managing the business kind of saw the writing on the wall and said, ‘Well, maybe we should reconsider this in a different location.’”

One Green World Café first opened two years ago in the Zurn Science Center, adjacent to the International Student Office. Hyman cited the high traffic through that area as a key to the café’s initial successes.

“If it’s to have a life in the future, they’ll need to find another setting like that,” he said. “It was a hub for students as an academic building.”

While the time when students will be able to purchase another One Green World-patented smoothie is still up in the air, the revamped space at Fourth and Sassafras streets will be unveiled in the coming months, hopefully around Thanksgiving, according to Hyman’s estimate.

Hyman said he and his team have discussed a plan to make the building more student-friendly. Small surveys taken in the spring and discussions held this fall have given Hyman some ideas to work with. Among those ideas are later hours, more events and an open kitchen.

“The university doesn’t really have a spot that’s kind of a hangout for students,” Hyman said. “We’ve come to the conclusion that that’s really what students would like that space to be, in addition to adding another option to the variety of student meals.”

Hyman is currently overseeing renovations of the building’s kitchen, and plans to offer burgers, fries and alternative healthy foodstuffs when the location opens.

APB will partner with Hyman to bring several acts and events to the new space, including the musicians and comedians that in the past performed in Club LaRiccia in the basement of the Waldron Campus Center.

Joe Sobucki, a sophomore sport and exercise science/pre-physical therapy major, said he’d like to see more school spirit events that promote students to support the athletic teams. But Sobucki stressed that the best chance for success for a new student space would be to make it as attractive to as many kinds of students as possible.

“It’d be bigger if it held more events that are tied to more students,” Sobucki said. “The Café seemed like it was just aimed at international students, and it kind of overemphasized it.”

That too-narrow focus is something Hyman is more cautious of for his new project.

“We don’t want to program the space to death,” Hyman said.

Although the new student hangout was not quite ready when students arrived back on campus to begin the new year, Hyman said the unveiled space will be worth the wait.

“As much as I would have liked to open Sept. 1, it was just impossible,” Hyman said. “But we’re taking a step or two forward every day, and we’ll be open soon.”

 

DAN KUBACKI

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