Convenience store packs up, heads to Offenhauer

Plans for a new campus convenience store in Offenhauer Towers were shared yesterday with student-residents and representatives of leading organizations in Offenhauer’s main lobby.

Gail Finan, director of Dining Services, and her advisory board held their third meeting with representatives from Undergraduate Student Government, Resident Student Association and students that live in the Offenhauer Towers and McDonald Residence Hall to take suggestions on what they want to see in Offenhauer’s new conveniant store, expected to be opened in Fall 2006.

Due to the revamping and expansion of MAC’s cafeteria, that has been in the making for about four or five years and will begin in the fall of 2007, the GT Express located next to it will be closed indefinitely.

The new store will permanently take the place of MAC’s GT Express in the northwest area of campus, and will be located on the side of Offenhauer that faces Thurstin Avenue in a former study lounge.

The store will be about three times the size of Cravings in Founders, and will be a composition of a food court and convenient store, offering many of the new items that have arrived on campus this semester, like the panini grill, slush machine, and waffle maker.

Some of the other items offered will be many of the “grab and go” food items, a variety of frozen food products, dairy products, all with a slight focus on fresh foods.

Even though the celery and peanut butter snacks and cubed cheese are discontinued, apples and caramel will still be available, according to Cindy Valentine, coordinator of student employment and training for Dining Services.

Because storage for all the food may be a problem, there will be some cut bucks on items like variety of milk, candy and chips.

“We carry four different sizes of Combos,” said on-site manager for Chilly’s and GT Express Robin Bruning. “We could cut down to two and nobody would notice.”

Finan said suggestions will be taken on the new store well into next year, so students can help shape what’s available to them.

“We’ll listen and we’ll do the best we can,” she said.

Valentine added that the Offenhauer store’s employees will try their best to offer the most popular items.

Among the focus group of students yesterday, it was unanimous that the construction of the new store is a very good idea and sounds like it won’t be an inconvenience. Johnnie L. Lewis, senator at-large in USG, had only one issue with the proposed store that he thought students should be aware of.

“People need to realize that it is a convenience store and not a grocery store,” he said. “But this is still a good idea.”

Finan thinks that the new store should have a new name, opposed to keeping the name GT Express. There will be a naming contest open to all University students and staff from April 3-10.

“I have about three names myself,” said Bruning with excitement about the new store and naming contest.