Many students buy snacks from the Campus Store and Campus Center, though some students complain that items are overpriced. However, prices of food items sold in the Campus Store are determined by the food suppliers, not the store, said Scott Harsh, director of the Campus Store.
Amber Rush-Jones, freshman math major from San Antonio said she believes the snacks available in the Campus Center are expensive.
“I understand that they’re trying to make a profit, but we’re cheap,” she said.
Rush-Jones said she doesn’t stock up snacks from the Campus Center. Instead she buys them from a grocery store.
“I have them in my room and I don’t have to go anywhere and grab anything,” she said.
Many students purchase snacks in the Campus Center or Campus Store because of the convenience.
Lewis Golmick, freshman information technology major from McAllen, said it’s helpful to grab something from the Food Court for breakfast if he wakes up late. He said he is willing to pay more for snacks when he uses Bean Bucks.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re actually spending money,” he said.
Harsh said the prices of food sold in the Campus Store are set on suggested retail, which is why prices are slightly higher than those in grocery stores.
“Food doesn’t have a high margin on it and suppliers we use, they service a lot smaller accounts, kind of like ourselves,” Harsh said.
Harsh said the cost of food is slightly higher than prices in grocery stores because the Campus Store doesn’t buy in high quantities like grocery stores.
“To offset some of the higher costs we try to supply a good assortment of items,” he said. “Obviously we’re more of a convenient store type of setting, just trying to provide things people might need on the run or real quick.”
He explained the reason prices are slightly higher in the Food Court is because those prices are determined by Aramark.
Harsh said prices fluctuate and are at the discretion of the suppliers. He said the Campus Store is working on increasing selection and they have seen some sales increase because of that.
At Walmart, a box containing six Clif bars can be purchased for $5.58, excluding sales tax. This means that a single Cliff bar would cost less than a dollar. At the Campus Store, a single Clif bar can be purchased for $2.19.
Harsh said the Campus Store shouldn’t be compared to big grocery stores like Walmart and Target because the stores have a huge amount of buying power.
“We can’t really compete because we’re buying for us, whereas they’re buying for a whole national chain,” he said.
For example, the Campus Store can’t buy products directly from Nabisco. They must instead go through a middle man who will supply them with Nabisco products and be willing to deal with their small account.
“I wish we had a lot more capabilities for a broader selection and lower price, but for the size we are and the industry we’re in it’s just hard to come up with a lot of options to lower prices,” Harsh said. “It’s probably one of our smaller margin areas in the store and we’re not making a ton of money off that stuff, even though with the prices, you would think that we are. It’s just that, for us to supply it, we have to pay a higher amount to get those in here.”