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Where’s all the food?

For a long time, many students found their haven in the Common Market of NAIT. With a Starbucks, tons of food and beverage options and a big cafeteria, it was the perfect spot for any need. But when the pandemic struck in March 2020, it had to close. Now, two years later, some students are disappointed to see that many NAIT food spots like Common Market still aren’t open. 

Tanis Dunn, a second-year dental assisting student, was excited at the idea of grabbing a coffee with her classmates when classes returned to campus. “I was really excited to see those things open up again … and I was just kind of surprised to see that more of them hadn’t opened up.” 

Dunn previously attended NAIT for an electrical journeyman certificate and fondly remembers the many options available at Common Market. “[It] was just amazing. Even after I graduated from NAIT I’d come in off the street and go eat at Common Market because they had the best food around.” 

But in her current program, lunch breaks are only 50 minutes long and she and her classmates are having trouble finding food within that time period. “Unfortunately the things that are closest to us in the main building are still closed,” Dunn explained. “So to kind of scatter in these different directions to see what’s going to be quickest for us has been a challenge.” 

Eat@NAIT and Chartwells were planning a complete return to business as usual this September, but according to EAT@NAIT Manager Gloria Booth, that meant, “kickstarting an engine that hasn’t run for two years.” 

However, dealing with unexpected problems, such as supply chain issues, has delayed some of their progress. Despite this, both organizations hope to open soon. “Our hopeful goal is October 11th, depending on the supply chain,” Booth explained. The Common Market underwent renovations to the ventilation systems in the kitchen.

Common Market at NAIT
Photo by Caleb Perreaux

According to Tracey Armstrong, General Manager for Chartwells, although Common Market underwent renovations to the ventilation systems in the kitchen, they are ready to open when the installations finish. “We are currently ready as a team. We have all our staff, and we’re ready to hit the switch as soon as we get the go-ahead.” They’ve even begun ordering stock and expect it to arrive this week. 

In terms of the Tim Hortons next to the Bookstore, Chartwells is hoping to have it open sometime this week. “It’s had every issue thrown at it,” Armstrong explained. They’ve had issues with screens, payment and other electronic problems. “We have paper menus and other backup plans just in case something goes wrong.”

In the meantime, students can visit one of the other food options that have opened this semester, as they’ve experienced success in other locations. Such as the new Corner Store in the CAT building and the Bytes store in the HP centre.

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