By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
Since it’s launch, the University of Michigan-Dearborn has made strides to push the Union as a premier facility deserving of as much recognition and standing as any other structure on campus. As the source of UM-Dearborn’s nascent housing initiative, the Union has proven a great success with students by providing them with quaint living arrangements complemented by an array of recreational services and activities including a movie theatre and fitness room. Now, the Union looks to add to those services with the addition of a Marketplace.
Opened just this past week, the Market Twenty 4 Seven is a kiosk within the Union that functions as a mini-convenience store that supplies residents with a small but diverse quantity of products.
Provided by Continental Canteen, the goal of the Market is further enhance the housing experience of Union residents while providing more them with even more available services at a moments notice. While it features standard goods such as the various “junk food” and beverages you would expect to see in a 7-11 or similar store, it also provides commodities beneficial of residential college students, such as coffee machines, refrigerated and frozen dishes (i.e., sandwiches, frozen dinners, etc.), breakfast pastries, and a small stock of cleaning supplies and toiletries (shampoo, soap, brushes).
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Twenty 4 Seven is its reliance on technology for payment purposes. Rather than staff the shop with rotating shifts of personnel to handle the cash drawer, transactions are handled through a self-pay machine (workers were available the first week, however, to assist students acclimate to the mechanisms of the Market). Students can simply walk into the Market, pick out their supplies, scan their purchases on the appliance, and then make their payments through debit or credit. For those students who prefer to pay through hard cash, however, a market card will be required.
Available inside the kiosk, students can take a blank key tag, scan it, and then register it to their name for free. Students can then load money onto the card at any time they wish to make purchases. And should students not wish to carry the tag at all times, they can download a Key Ring or CardStar Smartphone app to scan directly from their phone (for further details, simply pick up a pamphlet at the Market).
Because of the very recent opening, few students have had the chance to peruse the various wares of the Market. Those that have, however, had nothing but positive remarks to offer.
“I really think it’s convenient, and I’m honestly glad it’s there,” said freshman Alexis Thompson. “I love the fact that it’s twenty-four/seven just because I’m always running around studying and everything, so I know that if I don’t want to cook I don’t have to go that far. I can go in there and get salads, sandwiches, and I love that.”
These sentiments were not restricted to just students, however; faculty members have also found the latest addition to the Union to be just as beneficial to them as well.
When asked for his thoughts on the Market, International Recruiter Randy Jerome Dillard had this to say: “I think it’s good to have some type of additional convenience store options inside. Especially because it’s been eye opening with the weather this particular winter, and traveling back and forth for anything, for necessities, having something like that helps. That’s my opinion, that’s me coming from a staffing perspective. But going in and being able to just use my kiosk card similar to Kroger’s, and you’re just able to check out, put money on your card, and grab some coffee or grab a snack and this and that, I think it’s pretty good.”
With only a week since it’s opening and a limited number of customers, the seemingly singular positive reaction the Market Twenty 4 Seven has so far received is quite remarkable. Should this reception endure and word of the Market continue to spread amongst the student body, then UM-Dearborn can expect to see the Twenty 4 Seven flourish.