Reggies’s board of directors projects $6,000 deficit for end of year

General manager Justin McLellan optimistic despite last year’s larger-than-expected deficit

Reggies’s board of directors predicted a $6,000 deficit for the 2017-18 year at its annual general meeting on Nov. 20.

The Concordia campus bar’s board of directors and roughly 30 of its members gathered to review Reggies’s financial situation and highlight key areas for improvement.

In a presentation of Reggies’s audited financial statements from the year ending on June 30, 2017, outgoing president Rachel Gauthier said the campus bar ended last year with a larger deficit than expected.

“Like a lot of restaurants in Montreal, it takes approximately three to five years to actually get on your feet and have a good profit,” Gauthier said. Reggies is entering its third year of operation since re-opening in 2015 following two years of renovations.

Reggies is also entering its second year as a solidarity co-op. The bar is non-profit and customers can purchase a $5 membership which grants them part ownership and access to board meetings.

“We had to do two things at once: open and then transition into a cooperative,” Gauthier said.

To address the bar’s deficit, Gauthier said the board is implementing a number of cost-cutting initiatives which include choosing recipes that use many of the same ingredients to cut down on food waste and limiting the number of staff working at the same time.

Gauthier said the board should do more to gain new members and encourage member participation.

“The goal is to have as many members as possible because you want people to be involved in the bar, and you want people to want to give their opinions, give their ideas. That’s the point of a cooperative,” she said. According to Gauthier, Reggies has about 500 members.

Incoming president Veronika Rydzewski said Reggies is “not very visible on campus,” so a marketing committee will be created to increase the bar’s presence. She said the marketing campaign will include putting up a banner in the Hall building mezzanine and being more active on social media.

Rydzewski said Reggies was given an advance of about $34,000 from the CSU over the summer. “This was necessary for us to continue and re-open in September,” she said.

Despite last year’s larger-than-expected deficit, Reggies general manager Justin McLellan said that since he became the acting general manager in August, “we’ve increased our sales compared to last year, we’ve been on budget, and we’ve been cutting costs wherever we can.”

McLellan said Reggies is introducing new events, including open-mic and trivia nights. He said Reggies has also entered into partnerships with a number of brands, including Molson and Red Bull, allowing the bar to buy their products at a discounted price.

“We’re working a lot this year to re-vamp Reggies, to really focus on stuff that’s attractive to students,” McLellan said. “We want to showcase students’ talent. We want to be a place that people can come enjoy and hold events at low costs for student associations and make it a fun overall place for people to come and enjoy themselves.”

Photo by Alex Hutchins


Reggies aims for inclusivity

Employees and members gather for an annual general meeting to talk about improvements made in the last year

Concordia’s official solidarity bar, Reggies, held its first annual general meeting on Nov. 16, at Reggies, which is located on the second floor of the Hall building. The meeting went over the changes the bar has undergone over the last year and the positives impacts they have had. Approximately 30 staff and co-op members attended the meeting.  

Reggies officially became a co-op after CUSACorp, the for-profit sector of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) that was previously in charge of the bar, dissolved in May 2016. Being a co-op has allowed students to give their input and be more involved in the future of the bar.

Melanie Desrosiers, Reggies’ general manager, said the transition has been very positive. “Working with students is really exciting. It’s a student bar and they should make the decisions,” she said.

Desrosiers also discussed the work she’s been doing with Gabrielle Bouchard from the Centre for Gender Advocacy to make the bar more welcoming for all students. “I believe Reggies is one of the only bars that has a safe space policy being as thoroughly followed,” she said.

As part of this safe space policy, Reggies employees went through four types trainings, including  consent training, bystander intervention, completing a server intervention program, and a “Trans 101” tutorial given by Bouchard. The tutorial educated staff on the importance of a safe space and how to promote an inclusive environment. Reggies bathrooms are gender-neutral. “Everybody is welcome here,” said Desrosiers.

Reggies’ president, Adrian Longinotti, who is also the finance coordinator for the CSU, discussed the financial status of the bar. “The 2015-16 fiscal year was the first time that Reggies finished with a surplus in the last 15 years,” he read from the annual report. During the meeting, he discussed how the CSU helped Reggies with funding for renovations, which helped the bar to reboot in a positive position. He also told The Concordian the meeting exceeded his expectations, both in terms of the number of people who attended and the fact there was stimulating conversation where everyone exchanged ideas about what they hope to see in Reggies’ future.


Feminist comedians take over Reggie’s

Funny women took to the stage Friday night  to talk life, love and get some laughs

Concordia students crowded into Reggie’s as the second annual Feminist Stand-Up Comedy Night kicked off on Sept. 16. Put on by the Centre for Gender Advocacy, the evening’s lineup of comedians featured some newbies as well as a few veterans. The event began with an open mic session and was followed by sets from two renowned feminist comedians, Kalyani Pandya and Ify Chiwetelu.

The packed event kicked off with local comedian Nicole, who is relatively new to the comedy circuit. Last year’s Feminist Stand-Up Comedy Night was one of her first forays into the stand-up world. Originally from Saskatchewan, she started off by welcoming everyone to group therapy, and followed up with some poignant jokes about the cost of therapy and women’s haircuts. “When I do my finances every month, I’m like okay, do I want to be a functioning member of society or do I want to look good,” she said amidst applause. “We can all tell by my hair which one I chose this month.”

Right before the headlining act, Pandya took the stage and treated everyone to her hilarious stand-up, which focused on the fact she is queer and South Asian. She kept the room laughing during her entire set with jokes about her parents and their trip back to India. However, while she impersonated her parents for the skit, she also made it clear that cultural appropriation would not be tolerated.  “Now when I say these stories, I am going to use [my parents] accents, because it is their voices and I couldn’t hear it any other way,” she said. “But it is not okay for you to go and make those accents unless you are related to them or know them.” Branded “Ottawa’s funniest dyke” by Ottawa Xtra!, Pandya was part of the CBC’s Human Library series. She has performed at various venues across Canada, including Yuk Yuk’s, the Palais des congrés, and the Vancouver Queer International Film Festival.

Following Pandya was the night’s headliner, Toronto-based comedian Ify Chiwetelu. Winner of the 2015 Bad Dog Theatre Breakout Performer award, she joked about growing up black in Calgary and modern-day dating and using Tinder. Walking back and forth across the stage, she described what it was like to use the popular hook-up app after a weird or uncomfortable interaction: “You delete the app for like an hour, then look beside you like, oh my bed’s still empty, time to re-download that shit.” Featuring jokes about boobs, boys and life with parents who had escaped a civil war in Nigeria, Chiwetelu provided a set that was also relevant to all kids who grew up in Canadian cities and loved rap music way too much.

This event was part of the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s annual fall event series, Another Word for Gender: An Intro to Feminist Organizing and Action. The fall series runs until Oct. 4. The next event, an ask-and-answer with multi-disciplinary artists Vivek Shraya and Chase Joynt, will take place on Sept. 22.

For a full schedule of the events check out the fall events series page on Facebook.


Reggies welcomes the new semester in as a solidarity cooperative

Reggies now offers a revamped menu and prompts a safer space policy

Your favourite student bar has opened its doors as a newly-formed solidarity cooperative for the Fall semester as of Aug. 8. Along with becoming a Concordia co-op, Reggies has released a new menu and a membership service.

Adrian Longinotti, the president of Reggies and CSU Finance Coordinator said since opening Reggies last year for the first time following renovations, it was very successful financially and took back its title as the campus bar.

Longinotti said due to Reggies’ success since re-opening last year, he felt that turning it into a co-op would improve the experience for students and customers.

Turning Reggies into a cooperative will allow students the chance to be more involved on the input and future of the student bar, said Longinetti. “We want to keep that non-profit philosophy—we want to give back more and reinvest that into enhancing the Reggies experience.”

By becoming a cooperative Reggies now has a membership system. “We subsidize $5 of the $10 membership,” said Longinotti, which results in customers only having to pay $5 for a membership. “[With a membership] you get a 10 per cent discount on all food items—even on specials.”

Longinotti said the most important thing about obtaining a membership for Reggies is that members are considered part-owners of the co-op—they have a share in the organization. Members are given voting rights, allowing them to be a part of the decision-making process, said Longinotti. He said the first general meeting for Reggies will be held in November, with the exact date yet to be decided. He encourages members to attend so they can be involved and contribute to the future of Concordia’s student bar.

“We have implemented and adopted a safer space policy,” said Longinotti. In order for events to be hosted, he said, those who are booking the event must sign a mandatory document to ensure that those are booking the event acknowledge and maintain Reggies as a safe space.

The Concordian referenced an article to Longinotti published last March. The article discussed accusations of sexual harassment and statements made about some students recognized at the bar who had been known to some people for spiking drinks with GHB, also known as the date rape drug.

“It’s a new year, there’s a lot of potential for this place,” said Justin McLennen the bartender at Reggies. He commented on the safer space policy stating, “it’s a plus, it’s a positive sign. It will help people feel welcome.”

We asked Longinotti how he plans to ensure Reggies will be a safe space outside of hosted events. “We have hired more security,” said Longinotti. “The training for the staff also makes them have the knowledge and foundation of how to intervene and prevent something like this from happening.”

Longinetti said he is confident the training of the employees, more security and the safer space policy will ensure that Reggies does remain a safe space at Concordia.

“There are always going to be these things that might happen in a bar environment,” he said. “The most important thing is that we do everything in our power to try and prevent something like this from happening.”

Reggies is open to students and the public from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and open from 12:00 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Friday.


Reggie’s Bar has major renovation plans

The redesign of the bar area will be mostly aesthetic, creating a more welcoming environment for students.

On Oct. 19 Reggie’s Bar will be closed indefinitely for major renovations and revamping, with the project’s estimated cost to be between $300,000 and $400,000.

The renovations will include a complete change of the bar area, ventilation, lighting, sound equipment, plumbing and electrical as well as a much needed upgrade to the bathrooms, and finally the addition of a full commercial kitchen.

The complete renovation plan is still being developed, however the initial proposal which will include a theme and design for the bar will be presented to the CUSACorp board of directors on Oct. 16.

James Tyler Vaccaro, Chairperson to the board of directors and CSU’s VP Clubs & Internal Affairs said, “The project will realistically cost between $300,000 to $400,000. The project managers understand that any funding that will be allocated to the renovation must be approved by the CSU’s financial committee; because of this, they will be able to make adjustments to the proposal according to the funding allocated.”

CUSACorp and its board will be making all the decisions regarding the renovation project.  Vaccaro informed The Concordian that the project managers have hired a designer to create illustrations of the bar’s planned interior.

“These illustrations will be based on conversations with the CUSACorp board and will be included in their proposal,” said Vaccaro.

In the to-be released press release CUSACorp states “This project has plans to encompass a wholesome change to the space known as Reggie’s, transforming it into a respectable establishment which will cater to the Concordia community.”

Improvements to both sound and lighting are being made to allow the bar to host better events and offer a venue that can offer a greater variety of live performances and promote student bands.  The ventilation improvements will be required with the addition of the commercial kitchen.

The kitchen will create a sustainable, student run food option for all students and staff downtown.

The plumbing renovations will be needed to install a new ice machine, mend existing issues, as well as supply the new kitchen and bathrooms.

While the Reggie’s bathroom renovations are long overdue, the project will provide functional, more hygienic and accessible rest room facilities.

The redesign of the bar area will be mostly aesthetic, creating a more welcoming environment for students.

“The goal is to create an establishment that is used by students throughout the week to grab a bite to eat or have a drink, not only on Thursday nights. We have a lack of space at Concordia, and students demand a place on campus that is theirs,” said CUSACorp. “After the renovations, we hope that Reggie’s will act as a meeting place that students are proud to frequent.”

The re-opening of the new revamped Reggie’s will only be known once the project proposal has been finalized and the construction has begun.

Although there are currently no plans for a grand re-opening, Vaccaro has assured The Concordian that there will be. The theme and date of the grand opening event will be widely publicized throughout Concordia closer to the end of the renovations.


Eat healthy, live sustainably

The farmers’ market presented as part of the Concordia Student Union’s back-to-school orientation to promote sustainable and healthy living took over Reggie’s terrace Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Students and community members from local and university-based initiatives gathered from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to participate in the farmers’ market on the first official day of semester. The event started off with breakfast for new and returning students at 11 a.m. by offering regional produce such as organic apples.

Different booths pushed ecological awareness by selling local produce from Concordia and other provincial organizations, cooking displays that used fresh, unprocessed and local foods, and different artisans who fabricated their own products.

CSU VP sustainability Andrew Roberts organized the event to encourage new students to pursue a sustainable lifestyle and to join campus initiatives.

“It’s good to promote this growing urban agriculture sustainable food movement,” said Roberts. “We’ve got a market happening and we have vendors giving out flyers for the Marché Locale.”

Fruixi, a project launched by the City of Montreal in 2011, also had a stall set up on the terrace. Fruixi is an initiative to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the urban core by setting up carts attached to bikes stocked with food in downtown parks.

“Initially the project was started up to promote healthy eating in the Centre-Sud neighborhood,” explained Fruixi co-ordinator Maxime St-Denis. “Residents of the area are often marginalized and more vulnerable considering low socioeconomic status so we gave them access to healthy foods.”

St-Denis wanted to diversify Fruixi’s clientele by extending their services to Concordia University students and the West End of Montreal.

“Having access to healthy foods is the secret to good health,” St-Denis said. “We’re here to promote our project, to be discovered in a part of the city we don’t work with much.”

The Concordia City Farm school is a project organized by Sustainable Concordia that shows students the basics of agriculture and farming.

In association with the greenhouse on the 13th floor of the Hall building, the City Farm School gave students free samples of green tea produced at the Loyola farm.

With files from Marie-Josée Kelly


A renovated Reggie’s is ready to open

Concordia University’s student pub, Reggie’s, is revamped and ready for the grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 6 in an effort to attract more clientele.

Renovations were made during the month of August in order to spruce up the popular university bar. CUSACorp, the Concordia Student Union’s for-profit subsidiary that manages Reggie’s, approved a total of $12,000 for the renovation budget.

Ramy Khoriaty, Reggie’s business manager, said repairs include fresh paint, new decor, black lights and booths in an effort to modernize the bar.

“We painted all the walls, we took out tables,” said Khoriaty. “[Before the renovations] it was dangerous because security couldn’t get around them.”

As most of the overhaul was completed by Khoriaty and volunteers, including CSU’s VP finance Keny Toto, CUSACorp spent a total of only $6,500 to refurbish Reggie’s.

However, renovations are not the only changes in store for the campus hangout.

CUSACorp experienced trouble generating enough profits to break even with Reggie’s 2011-12 losses which accumulated to more than $40,000. According to Toto, it was the worst year for Reggie’s since 2008.

“We’re not only changing the appearance – some of the staff are being changed, the managers are changed,” explained Khoriaty.

Khoriaty told The Concordian that the Board of Directors decided to hire new bartenders and managers for the upcoming school year since there were issues with the staff in the past.

Tory Forsyth, who worked at Reggie’s for more than three years as a bartender, said that she was not informed of the reasons behind CUSACorp’s decision to not renew her contract.

“Every year, the board is allowed to hire or not hire whomever they want,” said Forsyth. “I was let go about a week ago.”

Khoriaty is aiming to improve the bar’s morale by building up a faithful clientele and a responsible management even if it means a raise in prices.

“There will be an analysis on prices. We’ll take into account the price of bartenders, busboys and what we sell every night,” explained Khoriaty. “If we don’t make enough, prices will have to go up.”

As for new patrons, Reggie’s hopes to attract those who do not study exclusively in the Hall building.

“We want our bar to be nice,” added Khoriaty. “Maybe now John Molson [School of Business] students will come here.”

Sean Thomson, a JMSB undergraduate student, says he agrees with this strategy.

“I think that if Reggie’s is redone, it would probably attract people,” Thomson said. “I would definitely be interested in taking a look at what they’ve done.”

Renovations to the bathrooms are projected to be completed before Thursday but are not done yet, according to Toto.

“It would probably cost between $2,000 to $3,000 total for bathrooms and the back area,” he said.

Reggie’s opening night is part of the CSU’s orientation to welcome new and returning students. A Bal en Blanc themed party will be taking place from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the first hundred guests will receive one free drink.


Reggie’s may be forced to increase prices

Reggie's may be forced to increase drink prices to cover outstanding deficit - Photo by Navneet Pall

A grim report of Reggie’s financial state exposed at last Wednesday’s Concordia Student Union council meeting could possibly result in increased drink prices at Concordia’s student bar.

CSU VP finance Jordan Lindsay and CSU President Lex Gill reported that CUSACorp, the union’s for-profit subsidiary that runs the bar, held a deficit of more than $40,000 for the last four months. According to Lindsay, this deficit will most likely double by the end of the winter term.

“Right now we have to find a way to go from $121,833 of semester sales to nearly $300,000,” said Lindsay, who is also on CUSACorp’s board of directors. “The situation is fairly grim and we need to tighten finances. We are going to do all we can to avoid increasing prices, but there is a 25 per cent chance that it will happen.”

Lindsay added that if such a scenario were to present itself, the increase would be minimal; “a matter of 25 cents here and there.”

During the meeting, Gill spoke of a worrying situation where, despite having no rent to pay for the bar and despite collecting a rent from the Java U café located next to Reggie’s in the Hall building, CUSACorp still managed to run constant deficits.

“Historically, Reggie’s has lost an awful lot of money,” said Gill.

Lindsay said the situation has been going on for years and that the bar has often been “eating up” most of the Java U rental profits. Gill explained that the losing money pattern was mainly due to “very poor” internal control, shifting management and high administration costs.

“Reggie’s is a fairly vulnerable institution,” said Gill. “It has a mix-mandate which is to be a bar, sell beer and make profits, but simultaneously to provide services and a community space for students. Therefore, the goal is not always to make money.”

Lindsay said that CUSACorp has not only planned to tighten expenses by controlling inventory and entertainment costs, but also to increase sales through better marketing campaigns, involvement of professional companies, use of social media, better lighting on Thursday nights, increased beer selection and organization of more theme nights.

Lindsay also insisted that Reggie’s was not condemned to bankruptcy, as he was confident the situation was fixable with better management of finances and increased sales campaigns.

However, the price increase seemed to be a concern for several students informed of the possible outcome.

“One of the major draws that Reggie’s has for students is cheap drinks,” said communications studies student Michael Czemerys. “I think they’re going to lose a lot of business if they increase prices.”

Exit mobile version