Students hoping for one last drink at the Highland Pub before its permanent closure on June 15 are out of luck. The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) shut down the pub on April 28 with little warning to students.
The closure of the pub kitchen also marks the end of the Ladle and SFSS catering services, but the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop will remain open for the time being.
— The Peak (@PeakSFU) May 1, 2017
Newly-elected SFSS President Hangue Kim said that the previous Board of Directors made the decision to close the pub for the summer semester, as was done in 2016. He noted that no special announcement was made because the summer closure was part of usual operations.
“Regardless of whether or not [the Highland Pub] was still operating for the next year, it would have been closed for the summer,” Kim explained.
@PeakSFU I miss the grilled cheese already!
— Corbett Gildersleve (@GolemBuilder) May 2, 2017
On April 7, the outgoing board announced that it had decided to close all of its food and beverage (F&B) operations, citing years of significant deficits. Despite closing the pub for four months out of the year, the F&B operations still saw a loss of nearly $350,000 in 2016.
“Food and beverage services for the SFSS is done,” said Kim.“The biggest thing for us as a student society [is that] we are a small organization and we don’t have the resources or the buying power to compete in such hyper-competitive markets.”
“Last year’s board just made the decision and said that it wasn’t an efficient use of student dollars.”
The new board is now tasked with determining how to allocate the F&B funds and what to do with the space that housed the pub and the coffee shop. The pub space is part of a long-standing lease held by the SFSS, but Kim did not rule out the possibility of renting it out to other businesses.
“We’re open to options, and we’ve heard the student concerns that were brought up,” Kim said, noting that the board will be detailing their plans in the coming months.
“We didn’t take the decision lightly and we’re going to look for the best alternative option for students, and hopefully come up with a solution,” Kim stressed. “I hope students understand that we are exploring options to continue to make the space better for students.”