By Anton Vidgen
Williams Coffee Pub opened yesterday in the
University Community Centre's Centrespot, vying for students'
wallets amid established competitors such as Tim Hortons and
"As an alternative to our other coffee
operations, we believed [Williams] was a good fit," said
Frank Miller, director of hospitality services at Western, the
owner of the Williams, Tim Hortons and Quotes operations.
Describing the newcomer as complementary,
Miller said the main goal of installing a Williams in Centrespot
was to balance traffic in the area. "We need something
to reduce pressure [on other operations]," he remarked.
Miller said hospitality services approached
Williams headquarters around September 2002 with the intention
of setting up a franchise at Western after being impressed with
the financial results of a Williams at the University of Guelph.
Around that time, hospitality services opened
the bidding process to restaurants wanting to use Western's
meal plan (such as The Wave), said Mark Sellars, general manager
of the University Students' Council - owner of The Wave and
also the space where Williams is now located.
And in February 2003, when the bidding closed
and it was determined The Wave was eligible to use the meal
plan, hospitality services approached the USC with details of
the draft Williams contract, hoping to strike a UCC rental agreement,
"We [agreed to] forego rent in exchange
for the meal plan in The Wave," Sellars said, adding hospitality
services waived the regular expenses associated with using the
Patti Jameson, VP-communications for the
Tim Hortons chain, said competition is always welcomed but noted
Williams and Tim Hortons are competing for different markets.
"We're unique in that we do sell the highest quality coffee
at a reasonable price," she explained.