Food Works Update Wins Award
Syracuse University Food Services is being recognized by the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) with an award to be presented at the NACUFS national convention in Baltimore on July 8. The University won a C-Store Best in Business Award in the category of “Updating Your Existing C-Store” for the renovation to the Graham C-Store, which took place in summer 2013. A c-store is a convenience store.
The Graham store, Food Works, first opened in the 1980s as a bulk health food store in the basement of one of the dining halls on campus. It sold vitamins and other items from wooden bins.
In the 1990s, the store evolved to serve healthy grocery selections for students. Food Works also carried a range of products for students with allergies. With a location close to the center of campus, it was convenient for most students.
In the fall of 2011, Food Works moved to the basement of Graham Dining on Mount Olympus. The space was larger, which enabled Food Services to expand the store’s options. The food selection was still geared toward the health conscious, yet incorporated more grocery items for students who live in residence halls.
The first year the store made do with the space as it was. Since it was in the basement, lighting was an issue from the beginning. Before the renovation, the store looked like a c-store masked as an old bookstore. During the summer of 2013, a staircase was eliminated to open up the space for a whole new look.
The updated style has a ’50s throwback feel with a modern flair. The lettering for the signage, the polished metal accents and fins on the wall have a 1957 Chevy Bel Air inspiration. Column lights are custom-made to reflect ’50s styling also. Modern lighting gives the space a funky, fun feel.
When the stairway was knocked down to transform Food Works, it immediately brought the wow factor to the store. The newly unencumbered space, paired with the openness of glass walls throughout the interior and into the corridors makes the store appealing to students in the residence halls.
To de-emphasize the impact of the c-store as the students walk down the corridor, an inviting seating area was built into the area in front of the store. It includes sofas and high-top tables, plus computer charging stations and televisions. Sharing this space with the adjacent snack bar has helped increase the traffic flow in the c-store and attracted customers from various parts of campus.
The shelving is mobile so it can be rearranged as Food Works evolves. This offers flexibility to change product layout with minimal impact on the rest of the store. Store product can be shifted easily to create interest and fill with new items.
Since Food Works is in the basement, there is no natural lighting. The architect had to think of a creative way to bring in light. The solution includes the use of energy-efficient T5 general lighting with a custom blue LED cove light for ambiance, and metal halide spots to provide a white punch to highlight the products. The end result is the right mix of lighting for product and space.
All these changes have resulted in a 50 percent increase in sales compared to last year.