CONVENIENCE STORE IN WORKS

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By Jenelle Rupchand

Students could be grabbing a bag of chips and checking their lottery numbers in between classes if a study of locations for an on-campus convenience store goes well.

John Corallo, director of ancillary services at Ryerson, commissioned a study earlier in the school year to find out if it is feasible to build and maintain a school-operated convenience store in one of three possible locations on campus.

The study is being conducted by six students that Corallo calls his “consultants:” Jonnathan Bravo, John Cochrane, Jill Cutajar, Liam Deverreux, Michael Vernelli, and Ian Woodley.

The six geographic analysis students volunteered to conduct the study as part of a geographic consulting class. The students have been working on the study since January and will continue until the end of the semester.

Woodley, the team leader, said the study currently involves counting traffic volume, location assessments, possible layout designs, and finding out what merchandise would sell at the store.

Corallo said the locations being assessed are the Tim Hortons on the second floor of Kerr Hall near the bridge that connects to the Rogers Communications Centre, the skywalk between the Library Building and Kerr Hall, and the basement in Podium where the Starbucks is.

Woodley said the Tim Horton’s location is the busiest, particularly around mid-morning and noon. “Infinite people go to this Tim Hortons,” Woodley said. “The problem is there’s not a lot of room so it can be even more crowded, if (the store’s) something that attracts people.”

If the Tim Hortons location is chosen, the store would take the coffee shop’s spot, Woodley said. The room behind it would probably be knocked out and the Tim Hortons would relocate there.

But for an area that has more space, such as the Podium location, the convenience store would simply be built alongside the Starbucks. Corallo said the store would be operated by and exclusive to Ryerson.

The variety store will likely sell typical conveniences such as magazines, lottery tickets, and snacks, Woodley said, but also student necessities such as stationery and frozen meals.

But it will not sell cigarettes, as that is against school policy. Students with meal plans could use their OneCard for purchases. Woodley describes it as a “quick stop and grab,” especially when the Hub is closed.

Third-year business student Karen Massicotte said she would like the store to sell gum and water. “Actually, I want to buy gum right now,” she said, looking down the Library Building-Kerr Hall skywalk.

“Ryerson could use a variety store.”

Corallo said part of the study will determine whether a store would be worth the cost. Ryerson’s labour costs are very expensive, he said, and a convenience store would face stiff competition from nearby Yonge Street.

Most other universities have convenience stores he said, but it makes more sense at places such as York University, which is surrounded by factories and apartment buildings.

Queenie Liu, a third-year arts and contemporary studies student, would prefer the money for a store be put towards fixing student space, such as the unused rooms in the basement of Podium, where CopyRite, the Used Book Room, and the former RyeSac headquarters used to be, and improving the deteriorating state of classrooms.

“Better a classroom than a bag of chips,” Liu said. The study is only in its first phase, and is strictly to study whether Ryerson should go forward or not, Corallo said.

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