Campus Vendors Deliver the Goods

Daniel Choi

Ali Najafi sat comfortably under his tent, hidden from the bright sun.

Mina, his coworker, was also under the shade, wearing a hat just in case the sun caught a glimpse of her.

Lining the tent were tables covered with accessories. There were earrings of different shapes and sizes, necklaces to decorate the neck and chest, T-shirts with different logos, and enough hats to find a fit for all customers.

Behind them hung banners, ones representing peace and love, others supporting college and professional sports teams, and one as a tribute to the state of California.

Najafi and Mina were the first vendors on GCC’s campus for the fall semester. They spent a week on campus offering low-priced items.

Ali’s Jewelry sells NFL banners for $32 each. According to Najafi, they are 36 percent cheaper than chain stores. Most items at Ali’s Jewelry cost less than $10.
Ali’s Jewelry will not likely be back this semester, but there will be a carousel of vendors during the fall.

One vendor that is likely to visit at least four times this semester is Creative Marketing, an independent marketing company.

Creative Marketing, which works with a corporate franchise called Giant Paintball, offers a special package on paintball tickets worth $480 for $60. The package includes 12 tickets that give all-day access to multiple paintball parks and include rental gear.

Vendors like Ali’s Jewelry and Creative Marketing tour colleges around southern California as a means of meeting customers. Some other colleges they visit are PCC, El Camino College, Harbor College, CSUSB, and USC.

Each college charges different rental fees. It costs $100 a day to reserve a spot at GCC, same at PCC, but half the price at El Camino, $40 at Harbor, and $30 at CSUSB. At USC, it costs $200.

Ali’s Jewelry makes 30 percent more than a minimum wage worker would earn on a 12 to 14 hour shift. According to Ali, that percentage is higher at USC. Though the school’s rental fee is comparably high, he normally reaps greater profit at USC than he would at other campuses, possibly due to a bigger student population and more students willing to spend. And apparently, less bargaining.

USC, however, is not the only arena for good business. One employee for Creative Marketing called the quality of business at GCC “very good,” and said, “You guys are one of the higher population schools. You have many kids here. And you have high attendance.”

The Office of Student Affairs collects the rental fees and uses them to help fund various campus activities and programs in need. “The needs may vary from year to year, but some past expenses include seed money to establish scholarships, emergency book loans/grants for students, transportation costs for the GCC cheerleading team, equipment and facilities expenses for athletic teams, sponsorship of campus events, training for student leaders, college graduation ceremony costs, etcetera,” said Dean of Student Affairs Paul Schlossman.

Other than paying the rental fee and getting approval from the office, vendors must follow certain rules and regulations in order to sell on campus. Some examples are conducting business within an assigned area and selling only between the hours of 8. a.m and 8 p.m.

To reserve a spot on campus, call (818) 240-1000 ext. 5592 or visit the Student Affairs office located in the J.W. Smith Student Center, room SC202.