Uncommon — Yale Hospitality’s small health- and wellness-oriented retail outlet located just left of the entrance to Commons — permanently closed over spring break after five-and-a-half years in operation.
According to Yale Hospitality’s Director of Auxiliary and Catering Operations Adam Millman, the closure comes in preparation for this summer’s transformation of Commons into the Schwarzman Center, and the space previously occupied by Uncommon will likely serve as a field office for the project team tasked with planning the construction. Originally, Uncommon was set to close at the end of this semester, but regular flooding due to refrigeration malfunctions and frequent traffic from architects and engineers readying for the renovation led Hospitality to close the outlet early, Millman said. All the products unique to Uncommon will now be available at Durfee’s Sweet Shoppe, and some will also be available at Thain Café and Becton Café. So far, Hospitality has seen no significant consequences of the shuttering, though some students interviewed said they had been inconvenienced by the closing.
“There’s been a very minimal impact,” Millman said. “[Uncommon has] been closed for a week now and there hasn’t been any negative feedback from any students on the facility being closed.”
According to Millman, Uncommon draws relatively few customers, registering an average of just 25 student meal swipes and per day. Durfee’s, by contrast, processes approximately 800 meal swipes daily — 32 times more than its counterpart at Commons.
Despite Uncommon’s low-volume sales, however, some students expressed displeasure at the premature shuttering. For Noora Reffat ’19, a pre-med student who spends much of her time shuttling up and down Science Hill, the closure will make already-tight lunch breaks even more rushed.
“Uncommon was very nice just because I could run through, grab some food and then go up the hill and make it in time for lab,” Reffat said. “[The closure] means I either have to get food at KBT— the cafe up on Science Hill — which is kind of hard because it’s usually very full and I only have 10 minutes before my lecture starts after lab.”
Reffat added that many students with cross-campus treks and short lunch breaks like her own have likely been similarly inconvenienced by the shuttering.
Students are not the only ones forced to adjust to the closing. Uncommon’s sole employee — who requested to be named only as Jessica — has also had issues with quick turnarounds after Hospitality relocated her to Durfee’s, where she works later hours than she did at Uncommon. A student and mother, Jessica has between 30 minutes and one hour depending on the day to get from work to school under her new schedule. The short notification she received prior to the transition compounded her difficulties.
“I don’t mind change but it was a bit of a short notice, probably like a two-week span,” she said. “With anything last minute, you know, you’ve got to roll with the punches.”
Uncommon was one of 12 campus retail outlets operated by Yale Hospitality.