The lone occupant in the cafeteria located in Pierce College’s new library might not be open for business next semester.
Lovebirds Café’s lease expires in December, but its owner of the seven-location coffee spot chain wants to keep the Pierce location open.
“We are interested in renewal and we have expressed it,” Lovebirds Café owner John Jomehri said. “I believe Pierce feels the same.”
Jomehri said a three-to-five year lease would be ideal, and would allow the cafe to offer more than it does now.
“With a long term contract we will expand our menu, introduce hot meals, have more ‘grab and go’ options, have a better seating arrangement and better design,” he said. “We also noticed that many students at Pierce are more health conscious so we will be expanding our organic, healthy and socially correct products.”
If Lovebirds Café does not renew its lease, then the Library’s cafeteria will be empty, with no tenants on the horizon.
“It’s rough,” associate Vice President of Enterprise Larry Kraus said. “Hopefully they will stay, if not we will have to begin looking for new vendors.”
Setting up the cafeterias and looking for new vendors is time consuming and costly, according to Kraus. He said tenants need a special contract and they have to work around more bureaucracy than when operating off campus.
“Finding vendors who are familiar with the school environment and schedule is difficult,” Kraus said. “Every semester changes, in regards to holidays and breaks. It’s nice to have an operation that is familiar with the school schedule and system.”
The six other Lovebirds Café locations throughout LA are doing well, according to Kraus.
“We actually discovered them through West LA College,” he said. “They do well there.”
Pierce College Lovebirds Café manager Sonia Monterroso said the location on campus is fine.
“The business seems to be doing pretty well,” she said. “Students here are nicer than the ones at West Los Angeles College and seem to enjoy themselves here.”
However, some Pierce students do not know the cafe exists.
“I had no idea that there even was a cafe,” Pierce student Caitlyn Phillipe said. “I wish I had known, it would have been nice to have gone to someplace different on campus.”
“The main reason we have not started any marketing is because of lack of cold storage in the back area,” Jomehri said. “The first experience is the most important one. We don’t want to bring the customers in and not be able to give them fast, friendly and efficient service.”
Some who frequent Loverbirds Café look forward to its lease renewal.
“Compared to the other options on campus, Lovebirds Café is my favorite,” Pierce student David Sekiguchr said. “I wouldn’t want to see them go. We already don’t have many options left.”