A Change of Location for Soma Cafe

Last week in an interview, Dr. Lloyd Axworthy mentioned some rather surprising news: Soma Cafe is moving out of the Duckworth Centre.

According to Axworthy, the UWSA executive has negotiated with administration to have Soma take over the space that is currently occupied by Cafe Bodhi, on the first floor of Lockhart Hall.

The space where Soma now stands will become part of a proposed pharmacy and medical clinic.

Theoretically, Soma’s move to a more centralized location will help make it a profitable venture. Soma has lost approximately $200,000 since it opened in 2008.

The UWSA has been working to find a way to make the cafe a financially viable venture, doing everything from changing the menu and cafe hours to proposing the cafe close for the summer. However, Soma is still slated to lose over $38,000 this year.

Relocation to Lockhart could be the change needed to keep the cafe afloat. Replacing Cafe Bodhi with Soma makes for an even more convenient location—students on Main Campus won’t even have to leave the building (or run up/down several flights of stairs in order to use the skywalk just to grab a coffee).

It also means at least one of Soma’s competitors will be out of the running; from what I understand, Cafe Bodhi won’t be reappearing somewhere else on campus.

And if Soma keeps its prices where they are, the place will be by far the cheapest option for caffeinated beverages on campus. It’s the only place you can get a cup of tea or coffee for less than $2 around here.

Of course, moving to the Lockhart space also means losing some of my own favourite Soma features. Assuming the relocation doesn’t involve any reconstruction of the space, we’ll be missing out on having an enclosed, separate area to drink coffee in peace.

The space that is currently Cafe Bodhi is limited to a few tables and chairs, and the Lockhart corner is packed with students. It’s often noisy, and the joined chair-and-table seating area gives off the distinguished vibe of a mall food court.

Will we still be able to listen to the eclectic and often bipolar music choices of the Cafe staff? Would we hear it over the din of students and staff milling through the halls anyway? Unlikely. That means no more combos of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay during your coffee break (of course, not everyone will consider this a bad thing).

All this and more will be discussed during the UWSA AGM, which is happening Wednesday, March 21st. Until then, the shape of Soma (and other things to come) remains unclear.