Board meeting discusses ailing Brantford business

At the Mar. 4 meeting of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) Board of Direcors (BOD), the fate of Laurier Brantford’s Williams Fresh Café was the centre of a debate between the board and management.

The Williams, which was opened in Nov. 2008, has thus far accumulated a deficit of $655,398 and is projected to increase by $150,000 by the end of 2011.

Mike McMahon, WLUSU general manager, presented to the BOD a proposal to subsidize the Brantford Williams using funds originally intended for a food services building in Brantford. Originally set for construction in 2009, the food services building plan was never set in motion.

With approximately $271,000 available in funds, McMahon also hopes that other factors will increase traffic to the café, including a 500-employee call centre which may be moving into the Market Square Mall where Williams is located.

Though the motion passed, many directors expressed concerns about the proposal. Director Seth Warren, who abstained from the vote, was doubtful of the fate of the business if the call centre did not materialize.

“Basically, it’s throwing the money at it with a prayer,” Warren stated. “What sort of tangible action can we take?”

Director Jonathan Collaton echoed these concerns. “We’re just hoping the call centre shows up and stops us from losing money?” he asked McMahon.

“The store is full of students right now, every day,” McMahon retorted in defense of the café. “It’s a favourite space on campus.”

The meeting started off with a presentation by Laurier president Max Blouw on the current state of and future of the university – including some discussion of the Brantford campus and proposed Milton campus.