Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poll: On the effects of competition

When I picked up my copy of the University of Chicago Maroon, I was surprised when I read this:
University Market will close December 13, the store said yesterday, after the University raised the store’s rent 50 percent over the past two years, according to co-owner and manager Kirsten Esterly.
For those of you unfamiliar with Hyde Park-Chicago, University Market is a tiny grocery store and deli within walking distance of University of Chicago. They have great deli sandwiches, and I love going there for lunch. At first, I was disappointed because I would miss those sandwiches, but I read on. Here's paragraph six:
The deli’s popular made-to-order and pre-made sandwiches will be available at the Medici Bakery next door, although the menu will be smaller, Esterly said. The market’s other unique offerings, such as specialty beverages, fresh fruit cups, and deli salads, will also be available at the bakery.
Great! The only product I buy from University Market will still be available, but I couldn't help wondering what the rent had to be to drive the University Market out of business.
“Our rent has been raised significantly and we just decided it’s not in our best interest to keep on with rent that high,” Esterly said. The space is approximately 20 by 65 feet, and would have cost about $52,000 a year if the Market had accepted the University’s new lease, according to the numbers given to the Maroon.
That's over $4000 per month, which seems high at first glance, but the property is commercial real estate, which might mean that $4000 per month on 1200 square feet is about right. I'm not sure, but there have been plenty of reactions to the news.

This week's poll is to see what your reaction is (quotes in the comments or text of the article):

Which quote best describes your reaction to the University Market closing?

(a) "good riddance. overpriced everything and a refusal to cooperate with the university or give any discounts to the students that account for 95% of their business."
(b) no downside. "If the deli's going over to Med Bakery I don't really see what the downside of this is. The deli was what made UMarket appealing...otherwise it was like BartMart without the discount or flex dollars."
(c) "this is horrible! it's the only place I can get groceries that isn't the 8-billion-dollar Bartlett store"
(d) Puzzled. “I would have thought they made a lot of money,” said Moschini, who visits once a day to buy lunch. “I guess I’ll have to pay the University for my food now.”

Vote early and often. Tell your friends to vote. The poll will be open for a week. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

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