LACCD Board of Trustees grants rent reduction for Movita Juice Bar

Movita Juice Bar requested a bailout due to low profits as a result of lackluster foot traffic on Valley College’s campus.

By Isaac Dektor, Managing Editor

LAVC monarch walking to the Movita juice bar after it had run out of coffee for the day on Wednesday, May 4. (Adrian Ramirez/The Valley Star)

The Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday to reduce Movita Juice Bar’s rent by $21,728 to keep the company on Valley College’s campus as the store continues to feel an economic squeeze.


The refreshment store feels the downstream effects of declining in-person enrollment at Valley. With rent determined by square footage of the space, Movita pays over $85,000 per year in rent for the location next to the bookstore. The 25 percent reduction requested by Movita will help the store meet its bottom line and, as a result, keep its doors open.


According to the board’s agenda, “the continued decrease in population and the move to online instructions at the campus reduced the need for on-campus food and beverage services. While the college has begun to return to campus, the daily population has not reached the pre-COVID levels.”


The rapid pandemic-induced shift to an online dominant curriculum at Valley hit Movita hard, forcing the campus shop to close indefinitely in early 2021. The temporary closure lasted for over a year.


A sign posted on its doors for more than a year, until last semester, read: “Due to LAVC going mostly online we will be closed the week beginning with Monday 3/16 and until further notice.”


While the Movita Juice Bar website states that the Valley campus location is open for shortened hours from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., the shop’s doors remain locked on most mornings until after 9 a.m.


With enrollment on the decline and demand for online classes rising quickly — Valley’s online curriculum has tripled from 20 to 60 percent since Spring 2020 — operating a profitable business on campus has become a challenge.


Movita came to campus in 2019, taking the place of the Lion Café. The then-new juice, coffee and snack bar boasted healthier options than the former cafe.


“It’s cool that they don’t just serve chips — they have protein bars and stuff — It’s a plus,” said Angel Gonzalez, a sophomore at Valley studying engineering. “Even though the cafeteria is open now I still find myself going to Movita.”


Pouring Peet’s coffee and offering a range of options from salads to chia bowls, Movita provides Valley’s community an alternative to its neighbor a few doors down, the Monarch Cafe.


Movita currently operates 12 locations throughout Los Angeles and in surrounding counties and is in the process of opening three more stores. The growing company is unlikely to eat its losses if the Valley campus location stays in the red. However, the rent reduction may keep the juices flowing — for now.

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