Officials closed The Market at Alvin’s at 11 a.m. Oct. 16 to complete renovations for the opening of the new Market on Nov. 19. Students received an email from Lori Walker, director of auxiliary services, about the closing at 10 a.m. the same day.
Michelle Gaffney, Chartwells retail manager, said she does not have direct contact to students, but she wishes the closing could have been communicated sooner.
“We would have preferred this whole time to give you a better timeline,” Gaffney said. “I won’t pass the blame to anyone so, but we’ve been waiting on inspections and city codes, so it’s not that we don’t have the money or aren’t communicating with the school. Our hands have been tied, which is why it’s taken so long. We pushed to get the tiny market space open to have something stocked for you guys.”
Gaffney said Chartwells officials got the final clearance for inspection, and they will perform final cleanings and checks over the weekend.
“Construction is basically done, so we just have to pass our fire inspection tomorrow,” she said. “Electricians are her checking all the lights and plugs to make sure it’s safe and ready to go. Then, we’ll test the fridges and machines to make sure everything is working correctly and do a final check to make sure price tags are out and everything is clean.”
The new market will open at 6 p.m. Nov. 19. Changes include more space, increased food choices with a variety of options for people with dietary restrictions, and separate cash registers for the market and Starbucks.
“There will be ten times more product than we had out front. It’ll be like a cross between a Walmart and a Sprouts,” Gaffney said. “We have a lot of natural products, from natural lipsticks and shampoo to food you can prepare at home.”
Frozen meals and snacks include vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options. Gaffney said officials are still working to provide hot food at the Market. They purchased an oven, which she said will be installed in the next week or two. Gaffney said she will place a suggestion box on the counter when the Market opens, so students can request specific items.
“We’re here to serve you guys, so, if students want it, we’ll try it out,” Gaffney said. “We really are glad to take suggestions. That’s why we sell kombucha.”
Gaffney said officials plan to set a date for a grand opening of the Market when students return from Thanksgiving Break. The opening will feature vendors that provide products for the Market. Students will receive samples and giveaways at the event.
Construction on the other side of the new Market is underway. Gaffney said construction workers will build a wall tonight to separate the Market from Chik-fil-a construction.
According to the email, the new market hours are
- Mon.-Thurs.: 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- Fri.: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Sat.: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sun.: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Contributing: Associate Editor Sage Tokach