Grassroots Cafe to be renovated this summer

Students can expect a more welcoming space, efficient seating, and local beer

Cafe finishes: paint, tile and bulletin board (Courtesy of Facilities Services)

This summer, the Grassroots Cafe is getting its first makeover in 10 years. According to the primary organizer behind the renovations, Kwantlen Student Association vice president of student services Tanvir Singh, the goal is to make the space “more inviting” for students by sprucing up the space’s floor plan, appliances, and colour scheme.

Renovations were scheduled for the summer in order “to take advantage of the fact that there’s not going to be a huge loss in revenue” during the Surrey campus’ slowest season. Students are also guaranteed to return to a more efficient and aesthetically pleasing space when it reopens at the end of the summer.

“After ten years of 300-odd days a year of use, it’s time to update,” says Grassroots Cafe manager, Adam Rhode. “Colour-wise, it’s drab and dark. We’re going with lighter colours [because] we would rather have a little bit of a brighter environment. People will be able to come in and sit and enjoy themselves.”

Rhode is also looking forward to working in a kitchen that’s “easier to clean and keep organized,” as well as the installation of a more visible and accessible beer fridge.

In the kitchen, there will be a new coffee maker, storage area, set of wall shelves, beer tap, and fridge. Despite the fact that the Grassroots has served alcoholic beverages for a while, they have not promoted or offered it well to students. The beer fridge that was being used at Grassroots was “a small stainless steel fridge which you can’t really see into,” so those interested in buying a drink would have to ask a Grassroots employee to open the fridge and describe the available options. That lack of accessibility will be fixed by bringing in “a large beer fridge with a glass front,” which will proudly display local beers.

“We’re hoping to have different selections of beer going on at the same time from the tap. It will be an opportunity for us to work with and show off our brewery program here at Kwantlen, and they’ll be sending us a half keg to let students purchase that as well,” says Singh. “The other beer on tap will be something local, because that’s the theme of Grassroots. We make sure that we’re using locally and ethically sourced products.”

Singh feels that it is important to make alcoholic beverages easily available on campus for students, since many “tend to go off-campus, sometimes to local bars and pubs, to be able to purchase alcoholic beverages.”

“We think that we have a great opportunity to really provide that to students here on campus,” he says. “With the updates, we’ll be able to really have a great aptitude for students staying on campus to celebrate the end of finals or the downfall of a bad midterm.”

In the Grassroots lounge area, the seating will be made “less awkward” and “more uniform and level.” A row of seats will be set up along the windows with charging docks for students who want to use their electronics, and ground seating will be switched out and reorganized to benefit “students’ social needs,” while still providing space for those who want more privacy.

Other improvements include a “more ergonomic” condiment station, bulletin boards around the cafe’s pillars to make it “easier for students to display posters and other initiatives that they might have,” and a green and white colour scheme “to emphasize the Grassroots brand.” As manager of the cafe, Rhode is excited to announce that they are “going to start using stainless steel china and silverware so that if people are eating in here, they’ll have a choice of either disposable or stainless steel,” for environmental reasons.

Plans to refurbish the Grassroots have been in the works for a long time according to Singh, and the current team of executives “really hope that students are happy with our renovations and that Grassroots is a place where student culture and activity can thrive.”

Editor’s note: This article previously suggested that free coffee would be offered during renovations. However, this is yet to be confirmed. We regret this error.