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GO WITH THE FLOW Created in a former FedexKinkos location at the schools University Center Munchy Mart features colorchanging lighting and a flowing floor layout in a long narrow space
GO WITH THE FLOW: Created in a former Fedex/Kinkos location at the school’s University Center, Munchy Mart features color-changing lighting and a flowing floor layout in a long narrow space.

Customizing Convenience

It is a common misconception that college c-stores have business models and strategies that mimic those of the large convenience store chains.  

True, they often stock a similar SKU mix when it comes to categories like beverages, snacks and impulse-buy items. Also true: they typically cater to on the on-the-go customers for whom convenience is often the more important feature of the location.

But where campus c-stores differ from their commercial "on street" counterpoints is critical. That is, they are typically custom-designed to meet very specific needs of the host institution.  Far from the "cookie cutter" model of national and regional c-store chains, they are often geared to solving one or more strategic needs of a college dining department or venue.

Each year, that difference is highly evident in the many entries to the NACUFS annual "Best of the Business" campus c-store competition.  

In addition to providing for convenience, this year's winners also addressed such things as the need for extended hours (Syracuse University); turning an empty copy center into a revenue generator (U. of Northern Colorado); bringing foodservice to a large residence hall (U. of Dayton); providing catering and room service to a hotel in an historic building (U. of Akron); and significantly improving security (and profits) in an existing operation (Boise State University).

Judges for the 2012 competition included a team of students and campus c-store managers; Dean Wright, director of dining for Brigham Young University; John Lawn, chief editor of Food Management magazine; Lori Mason, director of Education for NACUFS; and Jason Gilbert, who represented  "Best of the Business" program sponsor PepsiCo Foodservice.

See the winners

• New Store Design Innovation: Munchy Mart
• Merchandising in Retail Venue Award: The Emporium
• Updating Your Existing C-Store Award: South Campus Express
• The Hybrid C-Store Award: Zee's Quaker
• Retail Loss Prevention Practices Award: Bits N' Bytes C3

TAGS: Operations
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