Campus vendors are content with area construction
Amidst various complaints concerning the extensive campus construction projects, the prominent UA Mall hot dog and coffee vendors have reported very little effect on business, and in some cases, a small financial increase so far this semester.
Marchelle Brady and Steve Arnold, co-owners of the four hot dog carts throughout the University of Arizona campus, said despite location changes, their revenue has not been strongly affected.
"It has pretty much stayed the same," Brady said. "In fact, its (revenue) probably increased a little bit."
Brady said only one cart, which for years was located between the Psychology and Modern Languages buildings, was relocated due to the Integrated Learning Center excavation project.
"We had to move one cart over to the east side of the Administration building," she said. "It took awhile for students to find us there, but things are going well."
Still, Brady said the major changes in campus transportation routes have created new dilemmas.
"Driving has been the biggest problem from the construction," she said. "It adds about one and a half to two hours (to the usual work day)."
Donna Hibbits and Lynne Hill, who run the food cart at the Administration building, said they have adapted to the situation, and have even met a stream of new customers.
"We have a lot more construction workers coming by, and they really love the chili dogs," Hibbits said. "We have the nicest customers in the world and that is why we put up with all this (location changes)."
Hibbits, who had worked the former location for three years, said she misses some of the environmental nuances that are lacking next to the Administration building.
"The comfort is not as nice without the seating, but we put up with it," she said. "The sun blares until about 1:30 (p.m.), so we put (up) the umbrellas. The birds don't come and chirp anymore either."
Hibbits said the new location was designed to target student traffic from the east side of campus, which is now redirected through the Modern Languages building.
"It took a while for them to find me and the new cart," she said. "We picked this location for the convenience of the students, but it definitely isn't convenient for us."
Although she could not give a definite dollar figure, Hibbits said business has increased steadily once students recognized the new location.
Hibbits' only complaint stemmed from the added time and effort needed to set up the cart at the new location. Because of the lack of mall access, she and Hill have been forced to transport the heavy food cart around the Administration building.
"It's a lot of work for us because we have to push the carts all the way from the street," Hibbits said. "You would understand if you had to push one of these."
Hibbits said that many of the customers served at the new location do not actually buy food.
"We find ourselves closer to the parking meters so we have a lot of requests for change," she said. " We have to make a lot of runs to the change machine, but we help them anyway."
Rick Hoogesrtaat, an educational psychology doctoral student and a long-time customer of Hibbits, said the new location has not deterred his lunch time trek to the cart.
"Where she is now actually helps me when I work at the CCIT (Center for Computing and Information Technology) building, but when I was at the College of Ed., it was much simpler to get to," he said. "I still come here when I can."
The food carts vendors are not the only mall businesses affected by the construction projects.
J.D. Sheets, who has worked at the Common Grounds coffee shop located in the Modern Languages tunnel, said that while he has not seen any major changes, other locations are serving more customers.
"The other places are doing the same, but the one at the business college is doing better," he said. "It (construction) might keep people more on that side. "It's pretty much the same here."