University moves ahead with plan for enlarged Entropy store

All who have ever been trapped in one of Entropy’s miniature aisles, take heart. This summer, Campus Services (the conglomeration of Dining Services and University Stores that was created in July 2006) will break ground on the construction of Entropy+, a larger version of Entropy that will contain fresh produce and pre-packaged meals.

“It’s obvious Entropy in its current location is too small, and there has been consistent feedback for several years that meal plan holders would like to use DineXtra in Entropy,” stated Tim Michael, assistant vice president of Campus Services, in an e-mail to The Tartan.

The new store’s tentative location is by the University Center’s pool, a convenient location for students, faculty, and staff from all sides of campus, according to Michael. The store will function as both a convenience store and mini grocery store, carrying fresh fruits and vegetables, an enlarged coffee station, and fresh baked goods from the Carnegie Mellon Bakery, like the Carnegie Mellon Café and the Maggie Murph Café, as well as all the convenience items available in the existing store.

In addition, customers will be able to use PlaidCa$h, DineXtra, cash, and credit cards to pay for merchandise.

However, due to the store’s smaller size and limited audience, its prices will not be as low as those of superstores like Giant Eagle.

“We will strive to provide the most value for the campus community for the best pricing we can obtain,” Michael stated.

However, before the plans were finalized, Michael felt the need to solicit feedback from the campus community. Over the course of the semester, he has met with the Student Dormitory Council, Student Senate, the Dining Advisory Council, and staff members from the Office of Student Activities and the University Center.

“The feedback has helped us shape our merchandising plan for products and services,” Michael stated.

One group who did not have input was Entropy employees.

“They brought out the proposals last week to see what students thought, but we weren’t solicited for feedback,” said Greg Hinkofer, an Entropy supervisor.

The staff was concerned that if the new store was not run by the university, as it is now, but by Parkhurst Dining, a private company that supplies the majority of dining establishments on campus, they might be out of jobs.

“It’s still up in the air as to who will be in charge, CMU or Parkhurst,” Hinkofer said. “If it’s Parkhurst, they’ll bring in all their own people.”

Prices would also be inflated to match those of the company’s other campus dining venues, he said.

“I’m kind of worried,” said Entropy employee Vince Parker, a first-year in materials science and engineering. “I would have to find another job.”

Fellow employee Kyle Mountan, a first-year in mechanical engineering, said he would like to continue working at Entropy in the new location but wasn’t sure if he’d still be able to depending on the new store’s management.

Currently, Campus Services plans to decide on a final design by June and start construction shortly thereafter. Entropy+ is scheduled to open on October 1, 2007. Until then, the current Entropy will continue to operate.

The project will be supported with capital funding from Campus Services.