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Students Protest at LaVerde...s with Post-it Notes

By Swetha Kambhampati

A group of students expressed their discontent with changes at LaVerde’s Market by covering the front door and windows of the store with suggestions and complaints written on Post-it Notes this past Friday night. This student protest comes barely two months after a change in the store’s ownership. The three major student complaints were about the shortened deli hours, a reduction in product selection, and the elimination of the suggestion box, according to Greg H. Belote ’07, one of the organizers of the protest.

The group of 15 students, primarily from East Campus, spent about half an hour late Friday night “Post-it Noting,” writing messages like “Bring back sandwich cards,” “24/7,” and “Verde’s is my anti-drug.”

The elimination of the suggestion box “was the real kicker,” Belote said. “I got the impression the management no longer cares about customer opinion. … If LaVerde’s brings back the suggestion box and perhaps even distributes customer surveys, my hope is that they can better adjust to their market and will maintain their customer loyalty.”

LaVerde’s owner Chris Christensen said yesterday that he was not aware of any complaints from students. Specifically, Christensen said that he had just then received an e-mail regarding the Post-it Note protest and would look into it further. Mark Semon, the manager of LaVerde’s, declined to comment and deferred questions to Christensen.

Undergraduate Association President Andrew T. Lukmann ’07 believes that “while a protest like this is valuable and shows that students do care about the issue, people should feel free to talk to their senators and express their problems to the student government.” Lukmann said that it is more effective when a central government “speaks on behalf of 4,000 students rather than a small group of people.”

According to Belote, the main focus of the protest was to bring back the extended deli hours as well as certain store merchandise. LaVerde’s deli hours are currently 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, whereas last year the deli was open 24 hours.

“I know a lot of people who miss late night subs and stews, and there are a handful of obscure products that people miss as well,” Belote said.

Christensen said that the corporation decided to limit deli hours because “it was not busy past midnight and there was no need to have people unnecessarily working there when they could be at home.” He also said that “students have other options if they need something at that time.”

LaVerde’s was opened in 1988 by Frank LaVerde, who also owned the Star Market in Medford, in response to student needs. LaVerde sold the store to 660 Corporation in August in order to retire and spend more time with his family.