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The Three Faces of Sparty

Complementing the residential dining facilities at MSU is a series of retail operations consisting of 20 Sparty's locations, three retail food courts and a Starbucks branded coffee shop (a second nationally branded coffee shop unit — the exact brand is yet to be determined — is slated to open in the near future).

Sparty's is a three-tiered hybrid retail concept that melds a standard campus c-store with varying levels of foodservice. The basic model is Sparty's Express, currently in seven locations. It is a modest-footprint retail shop that also serves as a coffee shop specializing in Michigan State's proprietary Sparty's Spirit branded coffees.

The next step up is the Sparty's Refresh model, currently in 10 locations including the main library and the International Center, which adds other hot and cold specialty beverages to the menu mix, turning Sparty's into more of a coffee shop (there is minimal onsite seating at each of these locations). The comprehensive Sparty's Café model serves as a hybrid c-store/dining outlet by adding hot prepared food — pizza at two of its locations and grill items at a third — to the mix along with the hot beverages and retail items. All three Sparty's Cafes locations are in residence halls, where they provide a retail foodservice component to complement the nearby all-you-care-to-eat dining center.

The three retail food courts on campus include the Riverwalk Market in the Owen residence hall, where it serves as the onsite dining option (see main story); Crossroads in the International Center; and the MSU Union. The concept mix in the MSU Union food court includes self-branded Union Deli and Union Pizzaria concepts along with the Mexican themed Serrano's. Crossroads maintains units of national brands Panda Express, Subway and Villa Pizza but also boasts a Woody's Oasis, a local Middle Eastern themed restaurant concept.

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