Jamba Juice employees and students were surprised and disappointed to find out that the store’s location at the Matador Bookstore complex will be closing Friday as part of food court renovations.
“Not only does it affect us as employees, it affects our customers,” said Danielle Libby, an acting store manager at Jamba Juice. Workers there will have to find other jobs after receiving only a few weeks’ notice of the closing, she said.
Customers have been upset, asking why the store is being closed down.
Lauren Hoyle, a shift manager at the popular drink store, said she likes the idea of the renovations, but that the store is in demand among students and should stay.
Jamba Juice has been on campus for about six years.
“Jamba Juice is something that students want to have,” she said.
Regular customers stand in the long lines because they appreciate the friendly service and that the employees already know what they will order, Libby said.
Jamba Juice will be replaced by another fruit drink and smoothie store called Juice It Up. As for other replacements, Panda Express is also coming to CSUN and will substitute the existing Rice Garden vendor.
El Pollo Loco will also be added as another Mexican food choice, said Dave Nirenberg, director of commercial services for the University Corporation.
The corporation is a non-profit organization that operates on behalf of the university without any state funds. It provides books, gifts and clothing for the Matador Bookstore, all of the university’s food services, and a housing program for faculty and staff, among other activities and projects.
The renovations are coming as a way to give a facelift to an old eating area, coupled with the challenge of providing more food options to a growing student population, Nirenberg said. The corporation is shooting for Aug. 13 as a reopening date, just before the start of the fall semester.
A request for proposal was sent to various eateries in order to assess the companies’ interest in making a contractual agreement to build a new facility and operate in the complex, Nirenberg said. The financial terms that Jamba Juice provided were not favorable, so the decision was made to go with Juice It Up.
Nirenberg said everything was done to avoid disrupting the employment of people already in the complex.
As Jamba Juice closes, the corporation does not have any immediate positions for its employees. Workers, however, are invited to continue working at the new juice store in the fall.
Former employees of Rice Garden were interviewed by employers of El Pollo Loco and Panda Express on Monday.
One student, who was unaware of the switch, said that Jamba Juice should not be removed.
“They should just leave it alone,” said theater major Krystle Smith, a former Simi Valley Jamba Juice employee.
Others faithful to their fix agreed, and said that the Jamba brand is important to students.
“It’s much more attractive to students if you have the brand,” said Joe Benoun, a cellular molecular biology major.
Nirenberg acknowledges the importance of the Jamba Juice brand, but said that all will not be lost.
“We’re not going to be without a juice concept. It’s just not going to be Jamba.”