University Co-op adds grocery store on the Drag

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Julian Villalobos walks past the renovated Co-Op Outlet Wednesday morning. The Co-Op market is scheduled to reopen next week as a health-conscious grocery store.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

Students will soon have another option for purchasing health conscious, local groceries at the University Co-op grocery store scheduled to open next week.

Co-op management decided to build the grocery store after receiving positive feedback for it on their annual student survey, said Co-op CEO and president George Mitchell.

Mitchell said the grocery store, which is located on the 2200 block of Guadalupe Street at the Co-op Outlet’s former location, will be larger than a convenience store and unique to the UT community.

“We did a lot of research and checked out a lot of universities,” Mitchell said.

“Stores like this are a big deal especially on the west coast. The layout itself of our store is really unusual and seems to cover all of the areas of what students need.”

Mitchell said once the bank next door closes Sept. 17, the Co-op will make the building an addition to the Co-op grocery store.

“That part of the store will house Texas products specifically,” Mitchell said. “We hope to open [that section of the store] on Oct. 1.”

Zach Voelker, manager of the Co-op grocery store, said the store was not only student-inspired but will also house products specific to the needs of students who live on campus. He said the store will carry a variety of snack foods and health foods provided by local vendors.

“We feel this is especially important because the food is not freshly prepared so we are trying to provide the best nutrition to students we can offer,” Voelker said.

The store will also carry a number of products that are distributed in smaller packages, Voelker said. He said the store will sell small packages to benefit students because they do not go to waste and fit in the smaller storage areas available to students living on campus.

Rhetoric and writing senior Rebekah Luna said she is excited about the prospect of more health food being available near campus. She said she hopes the items available are made affordable to students.

“It’s exciting and will be really convenient to have around,” Luna said. “I think it’s also kind of silly because it doesn’t look to be much bigger than a convenience store and students can just take public transportation to H-E-B.”

Printed on August 25, 2011 as: Grocery store aims for October opening