The Peddler Pours No More

Mandy Porter ‘23, Guest Writer

The Peddler is a student-run coffee and tea cart that has supported sustainability on campus for 10 years, awarding discounts for those who bring their own cups and composting used coffee grounds. You can usually find us with our bicycle-run cart on Britton Plaza, selling coffee and seasonal teas with homemade simple syrup. Although we were unable to hold weekly hours this semester, we have hosted events alongside the Dickinson College Farm and the Mermaid Society, one of which was our famous Free Coffee Days. As Farm Works and Denim at the Quarry open and The Peddler becomes less visible, rumors have spread about the cause of The Peddler’s disappearance. As one of The Peddler’s managers since Fall 2021, I’ll explain why it is dying.

Although The Peddler couldn’t operate during quarantine, it returned in Fall 2021, with weekly hours and events as Dickinson reopened its campus. In the first few weeks of the Spring 2022 semester, The Peddler’s managers were abruptly informed by SLCE that we had a weekend to move out of our office, located at 169 West High Street, without an established relocation space. All our equipment was then moved to the basement of a special interest house where some of the managers lived. It was later announced that Farm Works would be opening in our old office space.

We were temporarily promised use of the Quarry for events, and we worked with SLCE and Student Senate on a proposal to refurbish the Quarry so that we could have a kitchen and designated space. Things were looking good for The Peddler, until we were told by SLCE that The Peddler could no longer use the Quarry and would, instead, be moved again to the Allison Community Kitchen. Not only was this our second eviction, but we were exiled to the other side of campus far from Britton Plaza, where many of our events take place. The Allison Community Kitchen lacks counter space and outlets for tea kettles, making it difficult to brew coffee before events. 

The Peddler’s managers reached out to the Space & Planning Committee, proposing the addition of more outlets in the Community Kitchen and a storage closet exclusively for The Peddler. Our requests were denied, although this committee approved the revamped gray carpets and glass walls for the Bookstore. 

At the end of the Spring 2022 semester, we successfully acquired a permanent kitchen space across the street from our old location; however, it was announced soon after that Denim would be opening a new storefront in the Quarry after some renovations identical to the proposal The Peddler made for that space. Twice now, Dickinson has relocated The Peddler to benefit themselves. As a student business, Dickinson cannot access nor profit from our funds, which is why the administration is trying to eradicate The Peddler.

After 10 years of providing good coffee and tea, it looks like the end is near. Dickinson has repeatedly denied our request to have a Square, forcing us to be cash-only and to subsequently lose customers. They have also refused to make The Peddler a part of the meal plan since we are an independent business. Meanwhile, Farm Works and Denim at the Quarry both have a Square and can accept meal plans. Ironically, The Pedder has traditionally benefitted by the Dickinson College Farm and Denim from participating in events hosted by the farm to sourcing our coffee beans from Denim. 

Dickinson has continuously tried to stomp out The Peddler, and they have almost succeeded. With half of the executive board having graduated in 2022 and only the senior class remembering The Peddler’s pre-COVID fame, we are sorely lacking a team of baristas to help maintain this coffee cart. If you are interested in keeping The Peddler alive despite Dickinson’s attempts to end it, please email me at [email protected].