Anabel’s Grocery, a Student Assembly-funded venture that aims to relieve food insecurity on campus, is slated to open next semester according to a statement from its co-directors, Lizzi Gorman ’18 and Adam Shelepak ’17.
Despite receiving S.A. funding last fall for a projected opening this semester, Gorman said the project faced several obstacles that have forced the team to keep postponing the opening date.
After an original projected opening of February 2016, bureaucratic hurdles in the construction process pushed the date back to the beginning of the academic year and then again to next semester.
For one, the team struggled to renovate the basement of Anabel Taylor Hall to become the grocery’s storefront, according to Gorman and Shelepak.
“Delays in the construction process that are external to the student involvement in the project have pushed our timeline to opening in the middle of next semester,” Gorman said. “These delays were driven by unexpectedly high bids from contractors and subcontractors.”
In addition to a sluggish construction process, Gorman also said the grocery encountered funding issues, with unforeseen costs making the project’s organization more expensive than originally projected.
“While the funding asked [from the S.A.] was in line with cost projections at the time for the renovation, unknown-unknowns of the space have surfaced in the past few months and driven costs up,” Shelpak said.
Both issues have now been successfully resolved, and Gorman said both Anabel’s student teams and University stakeholders “are [now] working tirelessly towards a successful opening” projected for the middle of next semester.
Last week, the Anabel’s Grocery team gave a presentation at a S.A. meeting detailing their delays and progress.
Erick Vargas ’18, S.A. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences representative, said that, athough he understands the challenges that the project has faced, the multiple delays have inconvenienced students in need of easy access to on-campus groceries.
“Personally, [the delays have been] a big bummer,” Vargas said. “As a student without a meal plan or a car, I was looking forward to being able to buy affordable groceries without having to travel far.”
Gorman stressed that work on Anabel’s Grocery is now proceeding in “a speedy, efficient manner” and encouraged students who are food insecure to make use of the workshops and other resources that Anabel’s currently provides.
“In the meantime, please utilize our upcoming programming — round tables, a fall break meal kit build, and more — and on-campus resources at 626 Thurston for food assistance,” she said.