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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Main Gate shops offer food, fads”

    If you’re looking for somewhere fun to take your parents for Family Weekend, you could consider the always changing variety of merchants on Main Gate Square, located on University Boulevard between Park and Euclid Avenue, just off the UA campus.

    This semester Main Gate Square has debuted six new merchants: Café Luce, Cereal Boxx, Which Wich, Sunglasses & Spectacles, Wilko and Loop, said Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation.

    More restaurants and shops spice up the routine lifestyle of many students who live on campus, McCollum said.

    “”For those of you (students) who are captive there five days a week, and sometimes seven days a week, if you’re like me you sometimes think you’ve seen everything,”” McCollum said. “”What I believe is a variety makes it more interesting to our consumer. I’m excited about all of the things we’ve done.””

    Main Gate Square features more than 60 restaurants, services, gift and apparel stores.

    “”Wilko is our convenience store (that) we’ve been looking forward to opening for nearly three years,”” McCollum said.

    Wilko, 943 E. University Blvd., opened Sept. 20. It offers products ranging from cosmetics, jewelry and condoms to organic food, coffee, beer and cigarettes, said Amelia Frank-Vitale, the store’s chief barista.

    “”The idea is a trendy, healthful take on the classic corner store, and people can pop in for

    Everything that goes on is just fun, and
    enjoys the diversity. I think that’s what makes us fun. We’re not solely old, we’re not solely young.

    – Jane McCollum
    general manager, Marshall Foundation

    whatever they need,”” she said. “”You can find something in your price range no matter what.””

    Which Wich, in the same building as Wilko, is an eatery that offers more than 50 different sandwich types.

    It has “”been a great addition to the street,”” McCollum said.

    “”We’ve seen very little impact in our other sandwich stores,”” she added. “”They’re still experiencing growth, so that’s great.””

    Former UA basketball player Jason Terry is one of the owners of Which Wich, McCollum said. His jerseys hang inside the building.

    “”I’m obsessed with Which Wich,”” said Liz McMahon, a psychology sophomore, while eating her sandwich. She began coming to the shop days after it opened and now says it’s one of her favorite places to eat.

    McMahon said she plans on bringing her parents to Main Gate Square over Family Weekend to show them her favorite places – a mix of the new merchants that just opened up and old favorites she’s enjoyed for a while.

    “”The old-school ones will always be great classics, and the new ones are going to be classics soon,”” she said. “”My favorites are Frog & Firkin and Which Wich.””

    Some Main Gate Square veterans like Pita Pit, which opened in 2003, have been holding strong.

    “”We feel like the students are our demographic,”” said Cami Quist, the wife of Pita Pit’s owner.

    She said that unlike some of the other stores in Main Gate Square, Pita Pit aims to provide a healthy, welcoming food option for the average UA student. Pita Pit’s store hours reflect that, she added , as the restaurant stays open until 3 a.m. daily.

    During Family Weekend, the restaurant is especially busy.

    “”We have a lot of parents and kids come in,”” Quist said, adding that parents have the option of putting money on a Pita Pit gift card as part of a UA

    meal plan.

    McCollum said Family Weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for Main Gate’s retail stores, including Loop jeans and sneaker store, which opened Sept. 29.

    Sales associate Julio Trujillon said Loop “”offers jeans other stores don’t carry.””

    With a price range of $89.00-250.00, Loop tries to meet the needs of trendy young people while selling the brands they want, Trujillon said.

    The Bear Down Friday pep rally, held the afternoon before home football games, will “”have a family twist”” this week, McCollum said. Tucson ’60s band the Retro Rockets will be performing, a choice she said “”appeals to both parents and students.””

    Other merchants, such as Café Lucé, Café Paraiso and Which Wich, will offer music throughout the weekend.

    “”Everything that goes on is just fun, and everybody enjoys the diversity,”” McCollum said. “”I think that’s what makes us fun. We’re not solely old, we’re not solely young.””

    Main Gate Square is a perfect place for hanging out with family and friends, she added.

    “”It’s just a really nice atmosphere, so people like to walk around,”” McCollum said. “”It’s a great place for students to show their parents what school is like.””

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