Over the last six months, National University’s campus store has experienced a gradual but noticeable transformation. Offering a wider variety of new and healthier food items, going digital with updates like QR codes that link to its Facebook page, and merchandizing items in more customer-friendly ways, the campus store is wooing more students, faculty and staff through its doors.
“One of the biggest compliments we received was when a few students asked us, ‘So who bought you guys out?'” says Keith Werosh, Dean of Accreditation, who assumed oversight of the university-owned store in April of 2011.
Werosh explains that most of the store’s updates are based on feedback from students. “We initially surveyed students about what they liked at the store, what they didn’t like, and what they would like to see. Most responded that they wanted to see healthier food, better logo products and a wider selection of items.”
Not long after the survey, in rolled sushi, salads, Greek yogurt, a variety of trail mixes, bottled smoothies and fresh fruits. Currently, the store is also clearing out older clothing and logo items to make room for a fresh new line of NUHS wearables and goods.
The store’s new manager, Mary Bassett, says she’d also like to offer handy-sized hygiene, sundry and personal care items like toothpaste, aspirin and laundry detergents.
Among all the new items currently carried by the store, the surprise hot seller is the ever-expanding collection of stuffed microbes! Hearkening back to the beanie-babies of old, aspiring doctors can collect plush microorganisms and bacteria to decorate their future office, or just to snuggle with at night before biochemistry exams.
The most popular new food item? “Go Picnic” pre-packaged lunch boxes. The Odwalla juice and smoothies are selling better now that they’re easily accessible next to the register instead of on the bottom shelf of the back fridge, and grab the sushi when you see it because orders are kept small so that it stays fresh.
What if budgets didn’t matter and their wildest dreams could come true? Werosh and Bassett would bring in a full coffee and espresso bar serviced by a live barista. Until that time, they’ve made do with new thermal air-pots that are keeping coffee fresher longer, and better quality coffee fixings.
Previously referred to as the “bookstore,” the campus store still stocks several of the major textbooks required for first trimester students, as well as hard-to-find texts that cannot be easily ordered online. There’s also a computerized kiosk linked directly to MBS for students to order any textbooks not currently carried at the store.
Werosh and Bassett say we can expect more improvements and new items as time goes on. Those who want to stay in the know, and even get an occasional coupon or head’s up on free samples of new food items, should click “like” on the store’s Facebook page.