Located in Milne Library, Books & Bytes is a popular spot frequented by students looking to socialize or wake up with coffee and a bagel. Campus Auxiliary Services is considering turning this beloved eatery into a Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and bakeshop. CAS Executive Director Mark Scott has worked with Geneseo for the past seven years, spurring multiple renovations including the College Union Starbucks and most recently, Letchworth Dining Hall. Under his instruction, CAS has begun the process of determining if the addition of the Tim Hortons franchise would be in Geneseo’s best interest.
“From what I have seen, the majority of students and faculty would love to see a Tim Hortons,” Scott said. “If it makes sense, we’ll do it. But the walls aren’t moving.”
Scott refers to the walls of Milne, indicating that the cramped space already used for Books & Bytes might cause problems with the addition of such a popular bakeshop.
Increased costs from store construction and the expected return of revenue to the Tim Hortons franchise also poses an issue. Scott estimated that it would take approximately five to 10 years to balance the costs in Geneseo’s favor, and he would like to keep as many financial resources on campus as possible.
In order to determine whether the benefits outweigh these complications, CAS officials are reaching out to SUNY campuses that already have Tim Hortons, such as SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Albany.
Even though the final decision is up for debate, Scott indicated that he would eventually like to convert Books & Bytes into the Canadian coffee shop. At this point in time, spring 2016 poses the earliest date at which a possible Tim Hortons would open. This means that Books & Bytes would spend the next fall semester closed, another hesitation for CAS executives.
Books & Bytes supervisor Lindsay Cannon said that most of her staff have not expressed any strong opinions at this time, yet added that discussions among students have varied.
“I have heard mixed feelings,” Cannon said. “I think some people are happy about the possibility of these changes but I also think some are not.”
These differing opinions will have time to evolve as CAS continues to investigate all the possibilities for this scenario. Meanwhile, Scott and his team will explore other potential renovation opportunities, specifically options with Red Jacket dining hall.
“We must do a better job with Red Jacket,” Scott said. “We would like to provide a higher quality restaurant experience and elevate our standards.”
In addition to the possible renovations of RJ, CAS will explore dining via food trucks akin to Chowhound. This was tested on Wednesday Oct. 1, when Geneseo successfully hosted an array of local food trucks on the College Green.
For now, CAS expects the best of possible future renovations.
According to Scott, “Things will only get better.”