The third retail shop in Donaghey Hall has closed its doors to UCA and to the residents of Conway.
Uncle T’s was open almost exactly one year before closing down Jan. 31. Manager Bené Woods said it was necessary for the business to leave Donaghey Hall while they could.
“If we had stayed and tried to continue growing and if we did not increase [in profit]the way we needed it to, we’d be in a more worse situation,” Woods said.
Uncle T’s had fixed costs, like rent and utilities, that they were paying. To lessen the amount of loss, Woods said they tried to reduce their payroll and labor costs. When that didn’t help, they couldn’t reduce any other costs and decided to close.
“When you have difficulty meeting your overhead, you really don’t have any other choice,” Woods said.
Woods said he is disappointed that they have to leave, but that they’ve exhausted all other options. It was a similar story for Blue Sail and Mosaique: they simply couldn’t do business where there was none.
Woods is still hopeful, though. The Little Rock location will still be operating. It is possible that they will open up another location in the future, but it will be located closer to Little Rock and not in Conway.
Before any future locations can be set up, Uncle T’s has to finish up at Donaghey Hall.
In a email to UCA students, faculty and staff on Jan. 30, President Davis said that the university is discussing a plan to re-purpose Donaghey Hall’s vacant spaces for “university-related functions.”
“We are in discussions regarding how student-focused food services, student recruitment and enrollment services, and university innovation and outreach components can make better use of open space,” Davis said.
Davis’ email also said the university is reviewing student surveys to determine what types of food services they might want on campus.
Davis said a decision about the fate of the spaces will be made public in a few weeks.