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The Ridges Café closed on September 18 due to lack of business. 

Ridges Café closes its doors due to lack of profit, traffic

The Ridges Café is no longer in operation, but it is uncertain for how long.

Those looking to buy a cup of coffee while visiting the Kennedy Museum of Art are out of luck — The Ridges Café closed its doors as of Sept. 18.

However, the permanence of the closing has not been determined, Ed Pauley, director of the museum, said in an email.

The lack of profit has led to the café’s closing, according to Lori Spencer, former manager of The Ridges Café. The university's’ plan to move more offices into buildings at The Ridges in upcoming years, Spencer added, would allow the café to receive the traffic it needed to be successful.

There is also hope for a local business to move into the space.

“We have discussed the possibility of it being run by a private business, which would rent the space and equipment,” Pauley said in an email. “That said, the café is designed to be a ‘heat and serve’ operation so food isn’t prepared on location.”

The Ridges Master Plan Committee has been working on bringing more offices up to The Ridges, but Spencer said renovations might need to take place first.

“I think we were all devastated that we had to close, but we couldn’t keep using our operating money from the museum to keep it going,” Spencer, administrative associate at the museum, said. “We don’t charge admission and you can donate if you want to, but you don’t have to… Any money the museum receives is usually money that somebody has donated.”

The café was operated entirely by student workers who were crossed-trained to work in the museum. Pauley said in an email these workers were reassigned to other responsibilities in the museum.

Getting to rotate from museum responsibilities to working the coffee shop was an enjoyable part of the job for employees, such as Brittany McAlpine.

“Days I worked in the café were a nice change of pace from when I would work in the museum because in the museum I would just sit and do homework but in the café I was usually busier,” McAlpine, a senior studying classical civilizations, said.

“When I worked I either had a really busy days or a day where no one would come in. … In the summer you’d have a handful of regulars but other than that you didn’t really see anybody else.”

While no food or drink is allowed in the museum, McAlpine said many visitors stopped at the café as they left the museum. Mainly serving coffee, the shop also sold sandwiches, wraps and baked goods provided by the Central Food Facility.

“Cafés are commonplace in museums these days. So, there is an expectation among visitors that food and drink will be available,” Pauley said in an email. “The café also encouraged students, faculty staff and others to gather at the museum.”

Pauley said he is optimistic the café will reopen in the future.


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