The new Market at the Munger Graduate Residence Complex at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, is more full-fledged grocery store than c-store, but in a Whole Foods/Trader Joe's kind of way. It offers a variety of kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian and specialty items — including fresh produce and freshly baked breads — in a mix that provides a full-service shopping destination for the some 600 graduate students who call Munger home, along with students from other parts of the campus.
Opened in fall 2009, the Munger Market is designed to serve a population with sophisticated tastes for healthful and sustainable products, but who are also very budget conscious, says Michael Gratz, executive director of hospitality & auxiliaries for the school's Residential and Dining Enterprises department.
“We try to feature something different in the store that is somewhat a step above what you would typically find in the average grocery store,” says Gratz. “We want to make it fun and price-competitive. So we carry a line similar to what Whole Foods would be carrying, but at a reduced rate. We try to offer conveniece is a very sustainable, organic and price-conscious way.”
The some 2,000 SKUs carried by the 1,500-sq.ft. store include nearby producers, with much of the fresh fruits and vegetables coming from very local sources, including Stanford's own fields. The store also hosts weekly farmers markets. The bread is from a local baker.
Foodservice at the Munger Market includes a variety of grab-and-go meals as well as gelatos and gourmet coffee. A distinctive feature: a self-serve espresso machine that is a proprietary item from Starbucks.
The customer counts are running about-half-and-half between Munger residents and those from other areas of the campus, says Gratz. Daily sales are around $1,800.
“It's a very popular stopping spot in the morning for people who walk to the office or faculty who walk to class. Stanford is very much a walking campus,” Gratz notes.
Traffic patterns are measured hour-by hour. The peak is, unsurprisingly, at lunchtime, when customers come in for grab-and-go lunches. Later in the day, the healthy snacks are a draw, along with the gelato.