Denim at the Quarry Looking for Workers but Still No Opening Date

Denim Coffee at the Quarry, Dickinson’s newest dining option, appears closer to opening after the school released information on shifts and pay rates for workers last week.  

Matt Ramsay, the founder and co-owner of Denim Coffee, said, “Hiring right now is difficult,” but said that he intends to hire Dickinson students and other members of the community. Though they have started the hiring process, according to Ramsay, Denim cannot yet set a definitive date for the shop to open, since their renovations of the Quarry space are unfinished.  

Pay will start at 9 dollars an hour, with Ramsay estimating up to 15 dollars an hour with tips. After originally announcing that applicants would be required to work the entire 7:30AM to 3:30PM shift at least 2 days a week, Denim released an update saying that both morning and afternoon shifts were available.  

Jocelyn Wright ’23 considered applying to work at the café, but decided against it. “I don’t think I could make that kind of time commitment between classes, schoolwork, and my job at the library,” she said, “I think there’s also some concern around their stated pay… They say that it’s $9 an hour plus tips, or roughly $15 an hour, but most students will be paying with their meal plans, so I don’t think people will be inclined to tip the same way they would at the Denim location in town.” 

Regardless of how they feel about working there, Dickinson students are excited about the addition of a new dining option on campus. Lyss Ricciardi ’25 said, “I’d definitely plan to go there at least a few times a week…Having a location on campus serving Denim products just makes everything easier.”  

Wright sees the café as part of the solution to the last few years’ challenges in Dining Services. She said, “I do still think it’ll be good to have the Quarry open with food again, especially with the number of dining options on campus still so low, limited to the caf and what feels like a half-operational SNAR.” 

In September, Director of Dining Services Errol Huffman told The Dickinsonian that students should be able to purchase a coffee and a sandwich with one Any 20 or Any 15 meal swipe. Ramsay clarified last week that the exact exchange rates for Denim items at the Quarry has not yet been determined. He indicated that there might be multiple options, some of which will take more swipes than others. 

When asked if competitive pay and hours at Denim might lure away student workers in dining services, Huffman said, “I support Matt and his efforts to get Denim Coffee up and running properly. Staffing is one of the two critical issues impacting our industry. Dining Services will continue to offer competitive compensation with a good rate and free meal with each shift while being very flexible in our work scheduling practices.” 

Ramsay expressed his excitement about opening the new Denim location. “I’ve worked with college students for 15 years…We’re not some big scary corporation. We got into this for justice reasons,” He said. He wants Denim to “pursue diversity as a company” and “create a welcoming space for everybody.”  

Wright has been disappointed by the delayed opening. She said, “I know a lot of students are frustrated, myself included.” Ramsay would not estimate an opening date, but the administration has communicated that the location should be open before the end of the fall semester.