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The Wilson Community College Board of Trustees has approved a new company to run the college cafe.
Crecent Dining Services was one of three companies that submitted proposals to the college to operate a small cafe in the student lounge.
Carolina Cheese Co. had operated The Campus Bistro in the space but closed during the summer, citing low sales volume.
Jessica Jones, vice president for finances and administrative services, said an internal committee reviewed requests for proposals from three companies interested in operating in the spot.
“Crecent Dining Services was the company we chose,” Jones said. “Each one had unique and different menu options, and we felt that this company had the better one that would fit our students, a more simple, inexpensive menu that would cater to our students.”
“They kind of listened to us, and they had some experience with what other community colleges and universities may do,” Jones said. “They do food truck catering.”
During the interim, while the campus cafe was not operating, school administrators invited food trucks to the campus to feed students.
“We have been cycling through a different one every day, which local food trucks have been very happy to do. Actually another option that we talked about was that if we couldn’t get a food service to come in here, the food trucks seemed to be pretty popular,”said WCC President Tim Wright. “They were coming back week after week, so we have a fallback position.”
Wright said when the cafe is operating, competing food trucks will not be on campus.
Richard Millinder, owner of Carolina Cheese Co., contacted the newspaper by email in July after shutting down The Campus Bistro at the college. Millinder said that sales “were never very much to begin with.”
Millinder said there was not enough support from the faculty or the student body to maintain the business.
“The early college kids were the only group that could be counted on regularly, and their numbers (about 20) and their average check (about $5) are not enough to justify being open,” Millinder wrote.
Other businesses have also been unsuccessful at the location.
“There were literally days when we were open that less than five people visited the cafe because so few people were on campus,” Millinder said.