UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into a grocery store in the new Student Union Building Morris, Adam Paul; Morgan, Brendan; Robinson, Keith


When the new Student Union Building at the University of British Columbia opens in 2014, the Alma Mater Society and independent tenants will be operating a variety of food outlets, shops and services. A student grocery store has been proposed as an alternative to the ready-made, pre-packaged food currently available in the old Student Union Building. The Alma Mater Society is interested in an environmentally friendly, healthy alternative to the ready-made pre-packaged food outlets but needs more information on the viability of operating a grocery store. Ideally, the Alma Mater Society would like to lease space in the new Student Union Building to a third party tenant who has expertise as well as experience operating a grocery store. To advise the Alma Mater society, a triple bottom line analysis was conducted analyzing the economic, social and environmental aspects of various third party store options. Economically, the Alma Mater Society is willing to experiment with this project and is not concerned with having a large return on the investment but would like the potential grocery store to stay net positive. As environmental factors are very important to UBC, and how large a carbon footprint produced by the store is looked at closely, the produce is restricted to being locally grown. Plastic bags will be either charged a nominal fee or not be included in the purchase of food. Socially, students from varying disciplines were polled to obtain date that would show whether or not there is public interest in a student grocery store. The results of the poll were positive, and indicated that a student grocery store would be well used. Local produce stores were phoned to obtain data that would show if the market place was interested in the proposition. The results of phoning varying produce stores was positive, and only asked that there be more information on hand to give them so that they can make a more informed decision. The results from the triple bottom line analysis concluded that the Student Grocery Store appears to be feasible. A more in-depth analysis is recommended to peruse the concept of a grocery store. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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