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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New store turning heads

    Wilko general store employee Lily Dicker-Thompson, left, helps customer Tommy Begay. Wilko, located at the corner of North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard, opened last week. Djamila Grossman/Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Wilko general store employee Lily Dicker-Thompson, left, helps customer Tommy Begay. Wilko, located at the corner of North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard, opened last week. Djamila Grossman/Arizona Daily Wildcat

    A new store offering the ordinary alongside the eclectic opened in Main Gate Square on Thursday evening.

    Wilko, on the northwest corner of North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard, offers jewelry, greeting cards and zipper bags made by little-known artists, along with groceries such as tuna, pasta and milk.

    “”It’s a hip take on the corner store,”” said Will Stewart, a Near Eastern studies senior and Wilko employee.

    It is also one of few stores near the center of the UA to offer beer, wine and cigarettes. The others are convenience stores on the south and north ends of campus.

    “”We don’t consider ourselves a convenience store,”” said Rebecca Wilson, Wilko’s general manager. “”We consider ourselves a general store.””

    “”In Circle K, you’ll never find high-end jewelry,”” she said.

    Plus, Wilson said, the store is community-minded.

    The store buys as much as possible from local vendors, including locally baked bread, she said, and much of the jewelry is by local artists.

    The store is filled with art, including most of the fixtures on which items are displayed.

    The fixtures were handmade and designed, Wilson said. Additionally, the large clock behind the counter was made by a local artist.

    “”Even the hands were made by hand,”” she said.

    Instead of the usual behind-the-counter display of personal items, such as condoms, shaving items or feminine napkins, Wilko has the items stored in a low cabinet with drawers reminiscent of an old-fashioned library card catalog.

    A picture of each item is on the drawer, keeping the items organized and out of sight.

    “”We don’t want to junk it up,”” Wilson said.

    The store’s aesthetics are important to the owners.

    In one corner is a plasma screen playing the movie “”Star Wars.””

    Wilson said they also play wildlife and surfing videos, all with the sound off.

    “”It’s just for eye candy,”” she said. “”We consider that movable art.””

    The store was put together with the welfare of the environment in mind, Wilson said.

    Most of the fixtures were made from used materials, to keep them from going to a landfill, Wilson said. The floors were made out of bamboo.

    The bar around the inside of the big glass windows was made from scraps from the other fixtures.

    Additionally, the store offers many organic items.

    The espresso coffees are made from entirely organic ingredients, down to the milk, Wilson said.

    An orange juicer is a prominent feature behind the counter.

    Mike Oliver, a barista at Wilko, said the machine includes a little guillotine.

    The machine’s clear casing puts on a show as it spins the oranges and processes them into a 20-ounce glass.

    It takes two pounds of oranges to make one glass, Wilson said. The store uses only organic oranges.

    “”I really think the organic makes a big difference (in taste),”” she added.

    Pauly Sedgewick, a theatre student at Pima Community College, started work at the store Friday after finding the job on
    www.craigslist.com.

    “”I’m really excited about it,”” she said. “”We carry things that no one else has.””

    Sedgewick said she has seen lots of students and other people come into the store “”curious about it what it was,”” and people even slowing their cars down as they drive by.

    On top of locally made products, the store sells items from far and wide.

    Piaffe cosmetics – found only in boutique shops, Wilson said – are from New York.

    The store also sells organic cotton T-shirts.

    Political science freshman Raquel Ortega said she lives on campus and will probably pass by the store a lot.

    “”I really like buying organic, so this is a good idea,”” she said.

    “”It has a lot of things that get your attention,”” she added, noting a feminist magazine she saw on the store’s magazine rack.

    Said Aparna Deshpande, a post-doctoral physics student, “”It’s a nice addition to the street, but it would be nice if they had more fresh produce.

    “”Also, it’s slightly overpriced, compared to Trader Joe’s or other whole-foods stores,”” she added.

    The store does not yet accept CatCards as payment, but soon will, Wilson said.

    -Eric Schwartz and Yusra Tekbali
    contributed to this report.

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