RU in Need of Coffee?

By: Alissa Godwin | February 19, 2017

New Brunswick, NJ – The doors are open again and students were flooding inside the Starbucks in The Yard on Sunday morning. “We are open for good” Starbucks barista, Kevin said assuring customers on the second opening of the Starbucks on College Avenue in New Brunswick. After a long month without the infamous Starbucks coffee for Rutgers college students who frequent the College Avenue campus, this Starbucks location is just happy to be in business again.

After it’s long anticipated arrival in October, the coffee shop abruptly closed on January 20 leaving little-to-no explanation of why. Because of licensing issues between the owner of the franchise location and Starbucks corporate, the store had to temporarily shut down until the dispute could be settled.

Additionally, Au Bon Pain, another café on College Avenue, closed its doors in December when the university decided not to renew the lease. Leaving students without many coffee shop options, the café will remain vacant until it is transformed into a Panera Bread later into the semester.

A representative from the corporate office of Starbucks was quoted saying to The Daily Targum, “As part of Starbucks’ standard course of business, we continually review and evaluate our locations to ensure a healthy store portfolio. We will continue to serve the Rutgers community and encourage our customers to visit us at our other locations in the area.”

Throughout the rest of the five Rutgers campuses, including downtown New Brunswick, there are two other Starbucks locations and a Starbucks drink truck. The main attraction of this particular location however is the convenience to College Avenue students as it sits in the newly built apartment building and restaurant strip across from Scott Hall, The Yard.

The Yard, a highly anticipated project, was designed and built by DEVCO (New Brunswick Development Cooperation) over the past four years. It is the first project in a long developed plan by DEVCO to transform Rutgers University completely in their Rutgers 2030 plan. Students have endured massive amounts of construction throughout recent years as the entire university is undergoing renovations.

“The Yard was the first step in an overall plan to make the campus more traditional in the middle of a busy city,” DEVCO’s Project Manager, David Banks, said. “DEVCO’s focus is to reach the ultimate goal of revamping the entire campus for the better.”

Many popular food chain restaurants opened up shop in The Yard and students have taken full advantage. Big names such as Surf Taco, Krispy Pizza and Jersey Mike’s Subs have all claimed a space here. House of Cupcakes is also in the process of opening its doors soon as well. It seems that The Yard had everything, except for coffee. With the temporary loss of the Starbucks and the closing of Au Bon Pain, places to buy coffee and specialty coffee drinks on College Ave were limited.

Starbucks reopened on Sunday, Feb. 19 with plans to stay open so students can again enjoy the convenience of a coffee shop when they frequent their classes on the College Avenue campus.

“The Starbucks is back open and we’re getting a Panera Bread right on College Ave which I think is pretty special,” junior student Emily Calvo said. “It seemed students were a little worried about all the closings at first but things seem to be working out.”

As for the construction, there is a long way until 2030 but DEVCO is excited about the future of the university.

“The changes that are happening are beneficial so the construction hasn’t bothered me too much,” senior student Alexandra Aversa said. “There has been construction and renovations since my freshman year so I’m used to it. I’m just disappointed I won’t get to see all the final outcomes because I’m graduating. I’ll be excited to come back in 13 years and see it all through.”