March 3, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 79  

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USC’s Artifex set to shut its doors

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Leah Crane/Gazette
CLOSING FOR BUSINESS. Three very interested parties try to get their hands on the goods yesterday before Artifex closes on Mar. 12.

After years of struggling, Artifex — the University Students’ Council’s gift store in the basement of the University Community Centre — will be closing its doors forever.

“We made the decision in May last year,” said USC comptroller Karen Jackson. “Artifex actually never made any money — it was supposed to be a profit venue.

“One year it did break even, but last year [Artifex lost] $72,000,” she added, noting that even with inventory written off as an accounting tax break, the store was still losing a lot of money.

According to Jackson, the store has never made money in the five years she has been comptroller, even though Artifex went through a variety of changes to make it profitable.

“During that period we tried some different things,” she explained. “We got out of art supplies and got into gifts. That didn’t work and then we got into a smaller space and that didn’t work.”

“It was a corporate decision; [the USC] decided the space would be better used,” said Artifex manager Marie Bennett.

Bennett explained that Artifex used to be owned by the university administration under the name Art Crafts Studio until 1993, when the USC took over the management of the store, changed the name and adjusted the merchandise sold.

“It’s in the best interest of the students — it’s the students’ money after all,” she said, referring to the USC’s student fees that finance Artifex.

“Oh, they’re going out of business?” said third-year health sciences student Stacy Miller. “It’s expensive though; the only time I went in there was during the summer to kill some time.”

“They should put something useful in there, like a liquor store,” noted Charlotte Hall, a third-year anthropology student, adding she had never been to Artifex.

Jackson did confirm that another venture would be taking over Artifex’ space in the UCC basement, but could not comment until the agreement is finalized.



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