Butteries adjust to life after Shaw’s

Students prepare late-night snacks in the Davenport buttery, called the Dive. Since Shaw’s closed, the butteries have found new sources of supplies, such as Yale Dining.
Students prepare late-night snacks in the Davenport buttery, called the Dive. Since Shaw’s closed, the butteries have found new sources of supplies, such as Yale Dining. Photo by Drew Henderson.

Whalley Avenue residents are not the only ones upset about Shaw’s closing.

For one, the grocery store also supplied food for the Ezra Stiles College buttery, leaving its managers in a bind since Shaw’s closed in March. Now, manager Adam Lukasiewicz ’10 said in an e-mail, Stiles orders its food, cutlery and condiments from Yale Dining — a move two other college butteries have also made since last year. Although Stiles was the only college to stock its buttery exclusively with purchases from Shaw’s, other buttery managers said they sometimes made quick midweek purchases there, and have now replaced the grocer with more highly priced local vendors such as Gourmet Heaven and Durfee’s.

Katherine Woodfield ’10, manager of the Berkeley Bagel Bar, said the closing of Shaw’s has not significantly affected how managers stock the Bagel Bar. Woodfield, who owns a car in New Haven, shopped at Shaw’s occasionally before it closed, she said, but she now just drives further down Dixwell Avenue to buy supplies at Stop and Shop.

She said she is aware Yale Dining is willing to supply college butteries but does not want to sacrifice the convenience of purchasing herself.

“It’s so much easier to get exactly what we need and in the amounts we need,” Woodfield said, citing “dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets” as a popular product she would not be able to purchase through Yale Dining. “So that’s why I continue to shop.”

Other colleges’ buttery managers said that, like Woodfield, they previously only traveled to Shaw’s to restock in the event of midweek shortages — all but three butteries currently purchase their supplies from wholesale membership outlets, including Costco, as well as BJ’s in North Haven, Conn., managers said. Now that Shaw’s has closed, some buttery managers may go to smaller, closer stores, such as Gourmet Heaven or Durfee’s, to restock in the middle of the week. Kat Piper ’13, a manager of the Jonathan Edwards College buttery, said she had gone to Gourmet Heaven in the past to make purchases as small as a jar of peanut butter. But because Gourmet Heaven generally has higher prices, she said she tries to limit these trips as much as possible.

But for two butteries, Yale Dining provides an alternative to local stores.

Like Stiles now, Silliman College also stocks its buttery exclusively with purchases made through Yale Dining, buttery manager Matt Bogdan ’11 said in an e-mail.Pierson College buttery managers purchase some supplies from Dining and the rest from the wholesale retailer Costco in Milford, Conn. The other nine butteries all continue to buy their supplies independently of Dining, managers said.

Regenia Phillips, Yale Dining’s director of residential dining, said student buttery managers can decide for themselves where they purchase supplies for their butteries, but she said buying through Yale Dining can offer cheaper prices. Because Yale Dining buys supplies in such bulk, she said, it receives discounts from its suppliers that butteries would not receive themselves.

“It has been an option the whole year for any of the butteries to order and receive the same pricing that we receive,” Phillips said.

Lukasiewicz said the prices through Yale Dining are approximately the same as were those at Shaw’s. Still, he credited the Stiles dining hall managers, Gordon Hayes and Brian Frantz, with making the transition to Yale Dining “quite easy.”

“It took a while for our first shipment to come in,” Lukasiewicz said. “But it has been smooth after that.”

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