University of Alberta food vendor pushed out of original location signs new lease elsewhere on campus
A food vendor at the University of Alberta that had its contract unexpectedly cancelled by Aramark earlier this summer has found a new home in a different building on campus.
Filistix, a Filipino food stall, was slated to move out of the Central Academic Building by Aug. 17, after Aramark told the owners they wanted to move in a different direction.
The move sparked outrage; many said it was one of the few local options on campus and an online petition was started. The university deferred all questions, at the time, to Aramark, which it contracts out food services to. Aramark did not respond to specific questions from Global News but said it was committed to high-quality, healthy and convenient dining options on campus.
This week, Filistix signed a contract to lease an empty space in the basement of the Students’ Union building, which is owned and operated by the Students’ Union, not the university.
“We’re not bound by any contracts with Aramark or anything. We do have a little bit greater flexibility when it comes to which vendors we supply,” said vice president of student life Andre Bourgeois, adding contracts with food vendors in the building had been up for renewal.
“We are just super excited to have a local producer in our building. I think it really benefits everyone involved: faculty, staff, students.”
Bourgeois calls it a case of good timing and not a reaction to the contract termination or online petition.
“We had been looking for a vendor to fill this space. It was convenient and it’s great any time we are able to provide something that students really want or look forward to. We are really happy about that,” he said.
Filistix co-founder Ariel del Rosario said the business is “grateful” for the opportunity.
“I’ve always thought success in business always has to do with a little bit of luck,” he said.
“It’s definitely serendipitous. Once an opportunity closes, another opportunity opens.”
Del Rosario said the new location will have expanded hours and all 10 staff will be able to keep their jobs.
“Our main concern was to see how we could take care of our staff, make sure they land on their feet during this transition period,” he said.
“Now it’s a lot more of a relief that we are able to continue our operations on campus and serve the university community with no more [than] a three weeks’, four weeks’ gap.”
Global News asked the university for a comment on the new development and received the following statement:
“The University of Alberta is pleased to see that Filistix was able to find another location on our North Campus and will continue serving the university community as part of the Students’ Union’s suite of food services.”
Del Rosario said it will be necessary to do renovations at the new location but he expects to re-open Filistix when students come back to school in September.
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