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Starbucks to no longer be served on campus

Almost as constant as stress and exams for college students is the pitstop they make before or after morning classes for their favorite caffeinated drink. However, the on-campus coffee scene will change in the 2016-17 school year.

Starbucks will not be on campus any longer as a coffee vendor. Local vendor Crimson Cup remains a partner with Ohio State and will be joined by Hubbard & Cravens, which brews out of Indianapolis.

When Senior Director of Dining Services Zia Ahmed and others requested a proposal from Starbucks, they were shocked at the response, or lack thereof.

“Starbucks actually didn’t bid. They didn’t submit a proposal,” Ahmed said. He couldn’t comment on details of the previous contract with Starbucks.

Ahmed said that each year the university puts out a RSP—request for proposal—to select vendors. Ahmed and other university officials use a criteria centered on taste, price, locality and a sustainability concept he calls direct trade—the product comes immediately from the farmer.

The direct trade criterion is a new one OSU worked with this year. Starbucks has its own sustainability programs, so Ahmed was expecting to receive a bid.

Hubbard & Cravens imports green coffee directly from farmers in South America.

“I had personal conversations with a Starbucks representative,” Ahmed said. “And they asked us about our direction on direct trade, and we were very clear that was only one of the many criteria that we were evaluating, so there’s no reason to believe that that’s the problem.”

Ahmed said that the university has stopped serving Starbucks products and are currently in a turnover period to Hubbard & Cravens products, which is expected to be done by the start of Autumn Semester

As far as locations for Hubbard & Cravens on campus, Ahmed said that the Berry Cafe and university catering services will change from Crimson Cup to Hubbard & Cravens. Other locations are still being discussed.

The bidding process lasted three to four months involving visits to the bidding sites. Ultimately, it was Hubbard & Cravens that got the nod. Along with its sustainability focus, Hubbard & Cravens meets the local criterion being a midwestern company whose owners Rick Hubbard and Jerry Cravens are both from Cincinnati. Hubbard & Cravens has been brewing for 25 years.

“We are very excited about (the new partnership),” said co-owner Marci Hubbard, wife of Rick Hubbard. “It’s nice to be a part of the family.”

The company has four retail stores and are also partnered with Indiana University, Ball State University and Taylor University.

The Starbucks locations in the surrounding campus area, including the one on the corner of East 14th Avenue and North High Street, are not affected by the ending of the company’s partnership with OSU.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


  1. Rohr cafe serves Starbucks and is not affected by the bid mentioned.

    Zia represents dining under Student Life. Rohr Cafe is a part of the Blackwell. Please update the article if you can so students aren’t misinformed.

  2. it’s RFP, not RSP

  3. How on Earth can Crimson Cup satisfy any taste criterion whatsoever is a mystery to me.

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