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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus convenience stores’ prices stand tall

    Residence Life employee Ed Gilhool visits the U-Mart in the Student Union Memorial Center yesterday. The prices in campus stores such as the U-Mart are higher because the goods are supplied at retail instead of bulk prices.
    Residence Life employee Ed Gilhool visits the U-Mart in the Student Union Memorial Center yesterday. The prices in campus stores such as the U-Mart are higher because the goods are supplied at retail instead of bulk prices.

    Prices at campus convenience stores continue to rise but could slightly decrease with the construction of more markets, Arizona Student Union officials said.

    Adding more convenience stores could help the union expand its consumer base and thus increase the number of products bought from food suppliers, said Dan Adams, director of Arizona Student Unions.

    Union officials have discussed adding a new, larger store on the northwest corner of campus, Adams said.

    In the meantime, a smaller store will be going in the Thomas W. Keating BioResearch building north of Speedway Boulevard.

    “”That would give us a good balance all the way around, in terms of providing student services,”” Adams said about the possibility of a new location.

    If the convenience stores increase their “”buying power,”” Adams said, they can get their food for slightly cheaper and potentially pass the savings on to students.

    However, Adams said it would take a sizeable increase in buying power for students to see much difference.

    “”It comes down to the amount we are buying, not what we are selling,”” Adams said.

    A recent rise in prices is part of the overall 5 percent increase in the cost of all food sold in the unions. The increase was necessary because last spring students rejected a referendum that would have provided Arizona Student Unions with money from a proposed added tuition fee, Adams said.

    Eric Murphy, an architecture freshman, said he goes to the U-Mart once daily.

    Murphy said he knows a lot of people who use convenience stores as often as he does.

    “”The prices are not terrible,”” Murphy said. “”They are a little bit more than your average convenience store, but they’re on a school campus, so you expect that.””

    Tiana Boykin, a dance junior, said she lives off campus and doesn’t go to the union-owned convenience stores as often as she did last year, when she lived in a residence hall.

    Boykin said she went to Highland Market on a weekly basis for groceries when she was living on campus, but now she only shops at campus convenience stores about twice a month.

    “”If you buy groceries here versus at a grocery store, it’s a lot more expensive,”” Boykin said. “”The only reason I would go here is because it’s more convenient.””

    Adams said an increasing number of students pick up a few groceries and go home, instead of staying to eat at the location. It’s a trend that has led to more grocery-related items offered alongside the more traditional convenience-store fare of snack food.

    A half liter of milk at Fry’s Supermarket on the corner of Grant Road and First Avenue costs $2.19 for the store brand and $2.49 for a national brand. The U-Mart stocks the same national brand for $2.99.

    The difference amounts to milk that costs 20 percent more at the U-Mart than it does at a larger grocery chain.

    Adams said that such price differences are just the nature of the business.

    “”That’s why they’re called convenience stores,”” Adams said. “”They’re there, they’re convenient, but they aren’t necessarily the most economical.””

    The U-Mart, Highland Market and Park Student Union shops perform better business than smaller installations like the Bookend CafǸ or the small store in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building, Adams said.

    The difference in sales is due mostly to the larger size and grocery-store atmosphere of the three large locations.

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