Students are expressing positive opinions after the opening of the new Market at Alvin’s in Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center.
Chartwells replaced Sodexo as the university’s food service provider in July. Officials announced in April that they planned to replace Alvin’s Café with a Chick-fil-A, based on a dining survey asking students their opinions on potential food providers.
Officials closed the temporary Market at Alvin’s at 11 a.m. Oct. 16 to complete renovations for the opening.
The full Market at Alvin’s officially opened for service 6 p.m. Sunday with more space and new food options, especially for those with dietary restrictions. These new options include pastries, snacks like chips and popcorn, frozen entrees, frozen drinks and coffee drinks, and toiletries like pads, tampons and shampoo.
Emily Jones, dance pedagogy junior, said she likes the format of the new Market and the ability to buy toiletries on campus.
“It’s really nice,” Jones said. “It’s pretty bougie, and I like it. There’s a clear space for a line and a back corner for goods and more variety.”
Collin Salmonowicz, film sophomore, said he likes the atmosphere of the Market and the amount of options.
“It finally feels like the $40,000 is worth it,” Salmonowicz said.
Abby Bryan, acting sophomore, said she’s hoping the new Market will be able to bring back old favorites.
“$40,000 will never be worth it until they bring the Eclectic Henry back,” Bryan said.
Lori Walker, director of auxiliary services, said she’s pleased with the new additions.
“I think it’s great, and it offers a lot of options for students,” Walker said.
Walker also said ovens will soon be added to provide students with sandwiches, though the date of the ovens’ arrival is currently uncertain.
Walker said the construction is not costing the university any money.
John Metcalf, acting sophomore, said he enjoys being able to buy paper towels and trash bags in the market, as well as boxes of cereal.
“The new Alvin’s is really good, and I am very surprised it’s so good,” Metcalf said.
Some students said they were displeased with the lack of communication upon the opening because emails were sent only an hour before the weekend closing of the market.
“Our hands have been tied, which is why it’s taken so long,” said Michelle Gaffney, dining services assistant director of retail at Chartwells. “We pushed to get the tiny market space open to have something stocked for you guys.”
Gaffney said food service officials got the final clearance for inspection and checked electricity over the weekend.
Gaffney also said officials are still working to provide hot food at the Market. She 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 and samples and giveaways for students.
Construction has begun for the addition of a Chick-fil-A.
Evan Juedeman, mass communications junior, said he likes the style of the Market, but he misses parts of the former “Alvin’s Cafe.”
“I appreciate the pseudo-fixer-upper aesthetics with the driftwood floors, and the cabinets, but I still miss my pasta,” Juedeman said. “It feels like a market and not a cafe, which is cool, but what depresses me about this is all the little freshmen don’t know how good Alvin’s used to be.”