Joshua Meribole – Staff Writer
The queue of the Bunsen Brew and the 55th have been places where students stay to wait for their coffee and the white-painted cinnamon rolls. And to business students, according to Professor Tim Klein, the faculty advisor for the club, they are the places where students can practice what they have learned in classes.
“The reason in having two coffee shops is not about making money, but for serving the student body here,” said Tony Zou, who has been the club’s accountant for nearly three years.
Business students also get the opportunity each year to visit other buisness and learn from how they operate.
“It offers you a unique insight on how to run a small business…it would be a very valuable experience for me if later on I want to run my own buisness,” Zou said.
However, the new school year has provided the business club with a new challenge: declining sales in the 55th.
The Bunsen brew, or “the convenient stop,” as described by Bethany Van Eps, the Managerial co-president, is doing well. It is responsible for a very large majority of the revenue the business club makes.
Over the last year, the traffic, or the students that buy from the 55th, have dwindled. The attempts by the business club to increase the amount of students buying from the 55th have not worked.
Last Semester, the business club increased how long the 55th was to stay open as a way to increase sales, as well as trying to have more events. Yet, despite the efforts, sales in the 55th have remained low.
“We are trying to find what role the 55th plays in campus culture,” Van Eps said. “55th doesn’t have a role, we have tried so many and none of them have worked.”
“We are working as a whole club to try and fix that situation,” Zou said.
To date, they are looking for solutions that will encourage more students to visit and buy their drinks and smoothies.
“It’s making me deal with the real frustration aspect of a buisness, meaning it just doesn’t always work out. What you think will work doesn’t,” Van Eps said.
But the students have not given up.
Some of the reasons that were given for the reduction in buisness is not definitive, but Van Eps suggested that student willingness to go to other places around Sioux Center to buy their coffee has increased.
However, another thing that is being looked at is how much the bookstore has impacted their sales. In previous years, the Dordt Bookstore did not take Defender Dollars, but recently, towards the end of the semester, students can now buy from the Bookstore with their Dordt-sanctioned currency. The question remains on whether or not this has impacted the sales of the Business Club due to the possibly fewer amount of Dollars in circulation.
“We have looked into the historical data to try to figure out what we can improve. We are trying to find out why and what we can do to fix it, it’s hard,” says Zou.
Although the decline in sales in the 55th is a problem, “it’s a learning experience,” says Professor Klein. “It shows what to do when competition arises and how you respond.”