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Stör expands

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The Students' Union is looking to expand the size of their convenience store -- Stör-- located in MacHall to include fresh produce, meat and other grocery store items.

The proposed upgrades coincide with Stör's need for renovations to its ventilation, electric and heating systems.

First-year business student Gail Medley said, "it would be really useful to be able to buy essentials on campus."

The expansion would cost $120,000 and would add 152 square feet of space to Stör, including wider aisles, more queuing space and a more efficient 10-door cooler.

According to the proposal, nearly 90 per cent of the funding would come from Quality Money, with the rest being funded from Stör's budget. The Quality Money Committee will vote on the project approximately within the next month.

Last semester The Convenience Guru, a consulting firm hired by the su, presented two plans for the possible expansion of Stör. Both plans require the Hive -- the su clubs' meeting room -- to be converted in order to accommodate the expansion of Stör.

The first proposal called for Stör's expansion only halfway into the clubs' space, and the second plan would have the meeting room transformed into Stör.

The first plan was rejected, and the second plan was accepted.

The Quality Money Committee is now looking at the proposal to decide its viability.

"We were trying to please everyone and ended up pleasing no one," said Straw, regarding the reason for the first plan's rejection. He said it was insufficient for the needs of either Stör or the Hive.

If the Stör expansion goes ahead, the meeting room will be lost. Straw is exploring replacement locations for clubs to meet.

There is another, lesser-known clubs' space on the first floor of MacHall which could be used. He said a specialized communication plan will be used to inform clubs about any changes to their space.

"In the long term, [the Students' Union] planned to redo the clubs' space, to make the utilization rate there skyrocket because it currently isn't being well used," said Straw.

The proposal notes that "renovations to the Stör are the first step of a multi-phase, multi-year plan that includes improvements to the adjoining clubs' space and other areas on the north side of the MacEwan Student Centre."

Student input has greatly influenced the proposal. The su survey has consistently shown that students desire healthy grocery options on campus.

Complaints of congestion are also noted in the proposal. Backpacks take up valuable real estate in the aisles which add to the difficulties in forming an unobtrusive queue.

"Students don't want to run over to Safeway to get some fresh alternatives when we have such a prime location here," said Straw.

Currently, Stör only accepts cash as payment.

"When we bring in a debit or credit card machine, we lose margin on every transaction, so we'd have to raise prices," said Straw. Non-cash transactions also cause delays which in turn cause increases in theft.

However, the proposed Stör expansion would enable the inclusion of debit transactions for a small fee.

The possibility of OneCard and credit card acceptance has not yet been determined.

The managers have already approved the expansion, but it will only be passed if the Quality Money Committee agrees.

Quality Money is a pool of approximately $1.2 million that the su and the university work on together. Project proposals are submitted by students and evaluated by the SU executives. Projects are approved if they satisfy criteria, such as benefiting students and being financially feasible.

If approved, construction on Stör will begin in the spring or summer when the campus is less busy.

"Students can get excited about the fact that if the expansion of Stör does go through, they'll have more variety and will have a new go-to location on campus," said Straw.

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