Removal of Ramapo’s ‘c-store’ has students concerned

Over the summer, Ramapo College announced that the campus convenience store would be removed from its old spot in the Pavilion to make way for the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRCC). In its place, Ramapo has created a new micro-market located in the little alcove near the Pavilion’s main entrance. This new self-checkout mart includes drinks, snacks, heatable and cold foods, with more items, such as toiletries, coming soon.

The store closing abruptly has left students questioning the change. Students from all over campus used the c-store store for quick meals, toiletries, over-the-counter medicine, or just to satiate the occasional urge for ice cream. Junior Grace Devlin, like others, used the store as a last-minute grocery trip and for late night snacks.

“We can’t live off of Doritos, and deli meats. People can’t survive off this.” – Yaren Ozbay

“When I first saw [the announcement], I was upset. It was a space that I would go to every week,” she said. “It was convenient and I was hoping that it wasn’t really happening.”

Interim Vice President for Operational and Administrative Integration Michael Yankovich said there were several factors that motivated the change. One was that the MRCC needed a new office space because their previous one was closing down. 

“The Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce approached us and asked if we perhaps had any office space that was available,” he said in an interview with The Ramapo News.

The college showed them several places on campus, and the space that met all of their needs just so happened to be in the Pavilion. 

“It was a really valuable thing for our integration with the local community but also as a benefit to our students,” Yankovich said about the partnership with the MRCC. They host several dinners and scholarship opportunities for high school students, providing Ramapo with the opportunity to increase the campus’ exposure. The partnership can also benefit Ramapo students with opportunities for internships and jobs within the company.

Yankovich understands students’ sorrow over the convenience store closure, though. “We explored a whole bunch of different options to sort of replace the services that were offered by the c-store, and it seemed coming up with a micro-market concept idea was the best way to go.” 

Because of the extended hours of the new installation, students can now access food and other necessities seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. But some students wonder if this will be enough.

“We can’t live off of Doritos, and deli meats. People can’t survive off this. I am lucky that I live in the Village so I have a kitchen, but I am worried for the freshmen who do not have a kitchen that they can use,” said senior nursing major Yaren Ozbay. 

When asked about future plans for the micro-market, Yankovich said there is a plan in progress to provide students with an additional market on campus complete with the meal options and toiletries that they need to live as comfortably as they were in previous school years. “With the unfortunate size of the space in the Pavilion, the shelves are limited and special items for students are not available, but we are looking at providing another micro-market that will be bigger so that we can expand our offerings,” he said. 

With the loss of the c-store comes the new and improved micro-market. The change will be a big adjustment for students. “It is unfortunate that it has changed because it was a very reliable place to go in the past, so I think changing it up is a little nerve-racking for students,” said junior Katie Rygiel. 

Yankovich shared that the college does not want to take away the convenience store aspect, but instead move it to a more convenient space for students that need it. The vendors and the college are working together to perfect the service and make sure that it is usable by resident and commuter students alike.

Featured photo by Danielle Bongiovanni