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Ram-Mart offers students new convenience

August 30, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - It looks like they sized up the average college student appetite pretty well.

Nilla Wafers.

Cans of Easy Cheese.

Chips Ahoy! cookies.

Soft tacos.

Burritos.

Ice cream.

Ramen noodles.

Following a trend at other colleges and universities, Shepherd University has decided to open its own convenience store on the school's west campus.

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Known as the Ram-Mart, Shepherd officials think the convenience store will be helpful for the school's students, especially the estimated 300 students who will be living at the new Birch Hall and Maple Hall apartments on the west campus this year.

The living areas offer students their own kitchens to prepare meals.

Residents in Birch Hall and Maple Hall can take a short walk to the Ram-Mart in the lower level of Boteler Hall, a residence hall, for a pack of bologna, some bacon and eggs or a carton of milk.

"I think it's just a natural progression," said Jack Shaw, Shepherd University's food service director.

Having a convenience store on campus is a trend among colleges and universities, Shaw said.

When Shepherd officials were considering setting up the store, they visited other schools where convenience stores have been established to see how one might work, Shaw said.

Ram-Mart was set up in a former meeting room. A row of vending machines along one wall of the room was taken out, which provided plenty of electrical outlets for refrigerated and freezer display cases that line the wall, Shaw said.

To set up the store, Shaw said food service officials worked with a grocery supplier that specializes in serving college students.

It's a small, 400-square-foot space, but it packs in a lot.

Shelves are filled with crackers, snack foods, breakfast bars, noodles and candy bars. The refrigerated display case offers cheese, ham, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, butter and fruit cups, and the freezer is packed with soft tacos, burritos, ready-to-eat pancakes and sausage, chicken, cream chipped beef and stuffed peppers.

There are safety pins, sewing kits, razors, miniature can openers, glue, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream and shampoo.

A Good Humor ice cream freezer offers up different sorts of ice cream pleasures and the store serves Green Mountain organic coffee.

"They love those Starbucks adrenaline drinks. It keeps them up all night," Shaw said.

A circular, blue-colored neon sign with a picture of a Ram, the school's mascot, hangs in a window, a welcoming sign for students who pass by at night.

"I like it. It's open until (midnight), which is kind of convenient," said Brian Woltemate, a senior at Shepherd.

The Ram-Mart is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and is also open 5 p.m. until midnight Sunday through Thursday.

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