Although the C-Store is a convenient way to buy groceries on campus, many students complain the C-Store’s prices are too high compared with stores like Target or Wal-Mart.
“It makes me feel like they’re ripping me off,” junior Brian Underkofler said.
But C-Store manager Josh Moldenhauer says comparing the C-Store with Target is unfair because of how many stores and customers Target has.
“They are so large that their markup can be significantly less because they rely on volume of sales,” Moldenhauer said. “Our markup has to be more because we can’t rely on that amount of volume.”
Located in the lower level of Murray-Herrick Campus Center, the C-Store accepts cash, flex and eXpress dollars. Students purchasing items with flex don’t have to pay tax at the C-Store.
Senior Ayanthi Ratnayake uses the C-Store regularly because its convenient but also considers alternative options.
“If I do have enough time, I’d rather go to SuperAmerica because I know it’s cheaper,” Ratnayake said.
For the C-Store’s top 10 items sold, the SuperAmerica gas station located on Cleveland Avenue actually has similar prices. Students buying the same items there can expect to pay $29.86, not including tax.
“It’s better to compare us to SuperAmerica,” Moldenhauer said.
While items like candy bars and Naked juice are cheaper at SuperAmerica, items not included on the C-Store’s top 10, such as cereal, are more expensive at the C-Store.
“I don’t want to have to charge five bucks for cereal, and if there was a way I could do it so I didn’t have to charge five bucks for cereal, I would do it,” Moldenhauer said. “We’re really, really trying to keep costs down for students.”
Students looking for a cheaper alternative can try Widmer’s supermarket, located at the corner of St. Clair and Prior avenues.
While Widmer’s doesn’t carry Naked juice or 5-Hour Energy drinks, the items it shares with the C-Store are relatively cheaper. At Widmer’s, the C-Store’s top-10 items cost $22.97, about $2 cheaper than the C-Store.
But some students like Underkofler prefer convenience over travel, even if it means doling out a few extra dollars.
Underkofler said he wouldn’t consider Widmer’s as an option for buying his groceries.
“Not while I’m a student,” he said. “The C-Store is just too convenient.”
Yet there are other students, such as junior Mike Tracy, who barely notice a price difference.
“For a typical gas station, [the C-Store] is pretty compatible with what I buy, maybe just a little higher,” Tracy said. “But no, it doesn’t bother me.”
Moldenhauer said he will continue to do the best he can with the C-Store.
“We’re about providing a quick and convenient space for people,” Moldenhauer said. “We really try hard to provide a quality product at a reasonable price.”
Miles Trump can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.