After weeks of set-up, Goodrich Coffee Bar opened its doors in the Dodd dining room on Sept. 20.
Colloquially referred to as “Doddrich,” Goodrich has reopened with slightly altered hours but a nearly identical menu. The coffee bar will serve from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., with swipes functional until 11 a.m., compared to its 7:30 a.m. opening time in previous years. Its night hours are limited by its residential location: Goodrich is open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but will have no night hours on Monday or Thursday evenings.
Mairead Reynolds ’18, personnel manager for Goodrich, said that the former dining hall space in Dodd was never intended to host a coffee bar, but the transition has gone well.
“We’re excited that we get to remain open for this year,” she said. “It’s a work in progress, and it’ll probably be an interesting year, but also an exciting year.”
Goodrich will be in Dodd for the 2017-18 academic year to accommodate a year-long renovation of Goodrich Hall, where the student-run coffee shop was originally located. Goodrich staff has worked with the Office of Student Life (OSL) and dining services to make the transition possible.
Reynolds and the rest of the management team spent hundreds of hours setting up the space and hiring new baristas after arriving back to campus in late August. Over the summer they communicated with both OSL and dining services to determine the extent to which they would be able to use the space in Dodd.
While the initial plan was to give Goodrich limited access to the dining hall space, Reynolds says dining services “really opened up” and worked with the coffee bar, including helping to fund the repair of the kitchen’s walk-in fridge.
“A lot of people at the College worked to make sure we could stay open for the year,” Reynolds said. “We had a lot of support. People were really dedicated to making sure we would open our doors, no matter how that would look.”
Dodd dining hall’s walk-in fridge is one of the surprising upsides of the challenging relocation. Reynolds says it will allow Goodrich to stock more of each product and experience fewer shortages. The entire Dodd set-up was originally designed to serve as a commercial kitchen, which now makes it possible for more baristas to work more efficiently behind the counter.
On the other hand, Goodrich faces an entirely new set of challenges, most significant among them the coffee bar’s physical location. Dodd is far removed from Goodrich’s previous location adjacent to Currier Quad, Lasell Gym and the Science Center. Reynolds says that, while it is difficult to tell so far what the average volume of customers will be, it is clear that the new location is inconvenient for a large portion of campus, especially those living across Route 2. She pointed out that there’s already a visible decrease in once-frequent customers, like students with classes in Science Quad and athletes with morning workouts.
The location is more convenient, however, for first-years in both Mission Park and Frosh Quad. According to Rob Hefferon ’18, catering and events manager, the new location has translated into a noticeable increase in first-year customers.
“First-years are always the hardest group to get in the door,” Hefferon said. “But we’ve seen a much earlier adoption of Goodrich by the frosh this year.”
Ultimately, Reynolds says, Goodrich is a different space from previous years, with a different focus. Between its low ceilings and communal tables, the dining hall is more intimate and conversational than the previouslarge performance space of Goodrich Hall.
“It’s a different use of what Goodrich is,” Reynolds said. “Now it’s more of a place to come and study and hangout, versus a place to stop by before class.”
The new space also lends itself to various events and collaborations, like an international club coffee hour or a Combo Za show.
“We see the future, both in terms of profitability and Doddrich as an enjoyable space, comes in large part from events,” Hefferon said. “We want to give the space the use it deserves.”
Throughout the process of recreating Goodrich in Dodd, the management team has had to grapple with the frustration of making significant investments in a temporary setup. Hefferon pointed out, however, that there is room in the process to grow as an organization. For example, the efficiency of the cleaning set-up in Dodd dining hall has already prompted the team to start thinking about how it can improve upon its set-up in the old location.
“We have to be a lot more forward-thinking than past management teams,” he said. “It’s a good learning experience. It’s going to teach us a lot for our return back to Goodrich.”