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Kendall, Student Center Coops have strong sales

By Aileen Lee

Sales at both the Harvard Cooperative Society's Kendall Square branch and the recently-opened MIT Student Center Coop are strong, according to Coop Board Chairman James Argeros. The stores will continue to operate simultaneously, as the Coop hopes to "serve the spreading MIT community," Argeros said.

This spring will mark the two year anniversary of the opening of the Kendall Square Coop. According to Argeros, the board is pleased with the Kendall store's performance, and "although it is too early to determine how successful it will be, we are optimistic about the Stratton [Student Center] Coop's future."

The Coop's recent business success most likely will not play a large role in determining this year's rebate, however. Two years ago, the rebate was 9.5 percent. Last year, the rate declined to 7.8 percent, causing many Coop members concern. Argeros attributes this drop to increased costs at all seven Coop stores -- Harvard, Harvard Business and Law Schools, Longwood Hospital, Downtown, Kendall, and the Student Center. "The price to hire and retain responsible help has skyrocketed, as have health insurance rates and leasing costs," he explained.

The Coop is trying to battle these difficult economic factors by cutting costs and increasing sales. "The Coop advertises to appeal to everyone, but a main focus is always to increase member business," said MIT undergraduate Darian C. Hendricks '89, one of the five MIT students on the Coop Board. To remain a cooperative society, the Coop aims to generate at least 50 percent of its sales from members, he said.

"The rebate is based on the profits of member business. The less students, faculty, and staff shop at the Coop as members, the less their rebate will be." Hendricks added.

Argeros echoed this idea, saying that "The best way for any member to help is to think of the Coop when they go shopping."