“Unless you become more watchful in your states and check the spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that… the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations.” – Andrew Jackson
A war is brewing at Southwestern College. A coffee war, yes, but also a war against a corporate bully and a mean-spirited college administrator.
Jason’s Courtyard Café must now contend with the ubiquitous coffee shop executioners, Starbucks, not to mention a hostile SWC Director of Food Services.
Since the Starbucks boom of the 1990s, coffee shops worldwide have been crushed by the convenience and massive scale of the Seattle-based brew masters. What was once a modest coffee shop located by the famous Pike Place Market has evolved into an imperialistic force determined to monopolize the world’s coffee market.
Jason’s Courtyard Café has proudly served the SWC community with distinction for 13 years. It has become a SWC landmark, a mecca for bright minds and fine-tuned taste. Amazing customer service and a simple but perfected menu has been more than enough to keep customers coming back in flocks to this humble coffee stand.
Unfortunately, the café is now being threatened by a big name competitor thanks to its arch-enemy, SWC’s Joe Fighera. Our cafeteria chief has hated Jason’s since day one because it is more popular and more highly regarded than his pedestrian cafeteria. For more than a decade Fighera has sabotaged Jason’s by banning sales of certain items like sandwiches and blended drinks. Whenever Jason outthinks him with an innovation, Fighera either swipes the idea or has it in the next contract.
Despite all this, Jason’s has grown in popularity while the college’s cafeterias remain unpopular.
SWC has demonstrated the height of hypocrisy and has sided with a bully. A grant recently awarded to SWC’s Small Business Development Center is to fund emerging small businesses in hopes of creating jobs, yet crushing Jason’s, a small business that hires several SWC students, gets pounded. Why invite the world’s largest coffee shop corporation on to campus when there is already a high-quality cart?
It is disappointing that our school’s administration, which is supposed to serve the community, can be so cold towards an ethical establishment that puts students’ interests first.
Starbucks predatory attack on Jason’s is shameful. Across the street is San Diego County’s busiest and most prosperous Starbucks, so it’s not like Jason’s is much of a threat to Starbuck’s stock prices.
Although some argue that there is no foul serving Starbucks on campus, it is naïve to believe that the college’s end game does not include Tradewind’s Café becoming a full-fledged Starbucks. SWC has tried to defend it self by claiming that proceeds made from selling Starbucks go right back into school programs. Umm, Jason’s has done the same thing for 13 years, providing the ASO with a steady revenue stream. Starbucks is clearing out yet another competitor.
It is time for students to speak up and defend this campus treasure. We must support a café that has served coffee with a smile during good times or bad. On a campus sadly short of excellence and worthy traditions, Jason’s is both. Students must convince our administration that it is committing another blunder by crippling Jason’s, a loyal campus institution.
Jason’s Courtyard Café is as much a part of SWC’s culture as any educational or athletics program. For the past 13 years, Jason and his student-employees have served us, fed us and talked to us when we needed encouragement. They have also fed tens of thousands of dollars into student programs.
For all this our college leadership wants to wipe them out. Shameful.