Profs A to Z Talk: The Cornerstore

Professors A to Z

(Photo by Monique Gendron)

Dearest Students,
Professors A to Z were asked about a storied UNBC institution: the late, great, and greatly lamented Cornerstore, an institution not known by new students, but much missed by those of us who’ve been around long enough to love the tasty salads and snacks that used to be sold there. So let us share some foody tales of this icon of UNBC life.
The Cornerstore was a much loved space in the WinterGarden (currently the space used by the Career Centre). You could find all manner of good things, from locally produced cookies (even now, the memory of the Bread Guy’s cookies cause tears of loss to rise—- give us a moment), to original sandwiches, to fair trade coffee, to aspirin, to Canadian alternative magazines, and cleaning supplies, jammed in to a too small space with long line-ups when you were late for class. And then one day, it was gone….
At the time, there was much speculation that its closing was a response to pressure brought by Chartwells (UNBC cafeteria contractor) to shut down a competitor, or that there was a plan to convert the WinterGarden in to a fast food court and the space was required for another use. The reality, however, is a bit more depressing: the store was closed due to a decline in sales (we KNEW that we should have bought more giant cookies!!!). Here’s what Mardeana Berg, the Retail Services Manager for the UNBC Bookstore and Cornerstore, has to say about this beloved lost corner of UNBC:
“The Cornerstore was created in the early days of the Prince George campus, as a small convenience store to be operated by the Bookstore. Over time, in response to growing need, its hours of operation were expanded and product lines were added. A second location, called Food for Thought, also opened later, in the Teaching and Learning building.
During this time, we were able to bring on a local baker who was a regular feature at the Farmers Market: The Bread Guy. He eventually expanded his assortment to lunch and snack-to-go that was made fresh and delivered daily. Although we had fulfilled campus needs at the time, we were facing some issues that came with changing times. Food for Thought did not have the expected customer traffic needed to break even. So while it was subsidized by the Bookstore for the short term, it was not feasible for the long term. We closed it in the 2010/2011 school year.
The Cornerstore started experiencing a steady decline in sales. In addition, the space and staffing levels were not sufficient to support expanding services. The decision was made at the end of the school year in 2015 to close the Bookstore run operation (aka the Cornerstore) and to provide some convenience items within the Bookstore, as well as convenience food items from retail food service outlets on campus. Although The Bread Guy was invited to continue with those outlets, he decided to reduce his baking workload and pursue other employment.”
Ah, Corner Store, we miss you.
Professors A to Z wish you the very best this semester! Don’t forget to send us some WTF questions care of OTE, and we’ll do our best to get answers!!!