An independent Filipino establishment at the University of Alberta campus will soon be forced to shut down two locations after its contract abruptly ended.

Ariel del Rosario, owner of Filistix, said he was surprised when he received a letter from the U of A’s food services contractor, Aramark, explaining his licence agreement would be terminated.

“Of course we were shocked, based on how popular and busy we are on campus,” del Rosario said.

Filistix was invited to set up shop on campus in 2011 as part of an initiative to support local businesses.

Del Rosario said three other independent vendors were brought in at that time, and his business is the only one left.

“The reason they gave us is that they’re going in a different direction in terms of food services. They weren’t quite specific on what direction that was,” he explained.

He said he was disappointed by the decision, but this experience is causing him to be “more introspective” about how he will be doing business moving forward.


Hundreds sign petition to save Filistix

The eatery prides itself being an independent vendor that makes its food from scratch, which has attracted a loyal following of customers.

One of them started an online petition – which has already garnered more than 1,600 signatures – in an effort to keep Filistix on the U of A campus.

“That’s a lot of signatures for a tiny, little outlet in the basement of an academic building that most people couldn’t even find. That’s a big deal,” Russell Cobb said.

Cobb is a tenured associate professor at the institution and has been trying to find answers as to why Aramark has decided to end the agreement.

He said he received a generic reply from the university and he’s concerned by its indifference.

“The University of Alberta is completely offloading all responsibilities about this to the food services cooperation…to say they have no responsibility, no say in the matter, that’s disturbing to me.

“If over a thousand people are standing up for this little dining option to say, ‘Hey, we love this, we support this, you have supported this.’ And they’re not going to pay attention to us, it does not inspire confidence.”  

CTV News reached out to Aramark but the Pennsylvania-based company did not respond to the request for comment. The U of A said no one from Ancillary Services was available for comment Friday and did not provide a statement.

Filistix is scheduled to close its two campus locations on August 10.

With files from Dan Grummett