Zoe’s Bookside Bagels, supplied by Bellingham’s own local shop The Bagelry, located in Wilson Library at Western Washington University, has opened again after COVID-19 forced it to close back in 2020.
The news of Zoe’s Bookside Bagels reopening has spread fast among Western’s campus. Jan. 11, 2022, two days after Zoe’s reopening, students were making the journey to the library, squeezing in a long line despite classes moving online.
Eager to try it for themselves, a first-year student, Emily Grunert, said they were visiting Zoe’s for the first time. They said that they had heard about it both online and from upperclassmen.
“I have heard tons about it,” Grunert said. “Everyone is excited for it to reopen.”
Stephen Wadsworth, resident district manager of Aramark, said that they experienced an increase in student job applications at the end of fall quarter. This allowed Aramark to resolve the previous staffing issues preventing Zoe’s from opening fall quarter 2021.
Despite the ability to restaff, Zoe’s is currently serving a limited menu. Wadsworth said that this decision was made due to limited staff experience.
“Our menu selections will increase over the school year as capacity increases,” Wadsworth said.
Despite the increase in student applicants to work with Aramark, Rachel Weedman, who normally works at Miller Hall Market, was asked to work at Zoe’s on Jan. 11.
“This is actually the first time I have worked at Zoe’s,” Weedman said. “I have worked with coffee for years though. So, I am in my natural environment.”
Wadsworth said Aramark is hoping to keep Zoe’s open during the two week campus closure. Currently, Zoe’s is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Western plans to deal with any COVID-19 concerns with the still-open areas of campus on a case-by-case basis.
An email sent out by Western President Sabah Randhawa said, “During the next two weeks, campus student services are expected to remain open in the same fashion as they were during the first week of remote instruction, and issues around individual offices or areas needing to close or reduce hours because of positive cases or illness will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”
With new information on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continuously coming out, it is not possible to say for sure whether students will be on campus the whole quarter or whether Zoe’s will stay open. However, students seem excited to see Zoe’s current return to campus and the snack spot has seen a busy day.
Sophia Heit is an opinion writer for The Front and a third-year news/editorial journalism major. Her work focuses on local news while highlighting strong opinions within the community. You can contact Sophia at firstname.lastname@example.org.