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Vendors Row adjusts to its new location amidst construction

Alison Eddy

With construction for the new Multicultural Center progressing, the usual location for Vendors Row has been moved to another spot on campus.

Vendors Row is now located on the east side of the Multi-Purpose Room, right outside the entrance to the temporary location of the bookstore.

The relocation is necessary because the cement columns and the canopy above the previous location of Vendors Row are being taken down. The Multicultural Center will occupy the space once completed, and that area will be the new entrance to Viking Union, according to Western’s website.

Students wait in line at the new, temporary location of Vendor's Row on Tuesday, April 3. // Photo by Roisin Cowan-Kuist

Eric Alexander, associate dean for student engagement and director of the Viking Union, focused on maintaining the setup for the vendors as they have had in the past.

“The already existing canopy over the Multi-Purpose Room made perfect sense for our vendors because it kept them out of the rain and snow,” Alexander said. “That side of the building doesn’t get as much of the wind coming off of the bay, so it is a little warmer.”

Tucker Walton, manager at Brotha Dudes, also commented on the new location being more comfortable in comparison to the original location.

“Since we are blocked off on the sides, it helps block the wind and keeps us warmer, and we have chairs so we don’t have to stand the whole time,” Walton said.

Vendors Row will be located at this new location temporarily during construction, but it could be a permanent location in the future, Alexander said.

Alexander said he had considered eventually putting Vendors Row on what will be the backside  of the Multicultural Center along the Performing Arts Center Plaza, but he is concerned with the amount of wind the area receives.

“For now, we are going to hold it there for the next 18 months and assess after that,” Alexander said.

He said this new location is able to maintain the same number of food vendors and has temporary spaces to offer for student clubs and other vendors as well.

For Brotha Dudes specifically, Walton said he hasn’t seen a major difference in the amount of business at the new location.

“In my experience, people who are in the area have found us without it being a big problem,” Walton said.

He said people who are regular customers and want the food will come find them, no matter where they are located.

Junior Sarah-Jane Bentley-Spring hasn’t had trouble finding the new location, but she has noticed a new issue regarding space.

“It is a little bit more crowded because there is not as much room for a line to form,” Bentley-Spring said.

Alexander said they will find ways to make traffic flow as smoothly as possible, whether that be by situating planters differently, moving tables or creating pedestrian passageways.

He also mentioned the construction site will be a bit noisy over the next few weeks with the removal of the old roof and top floor of the bookstore scheduled during spring quarter.

Although the Multicultural Center won’t be complete for about a year and a half, there is a groundbreaking ceremony open to the public on April 20 from 3-5 p.m. at the PAC Plaza.

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