When students return to the SUNY Cortland campus this spring, they will find life just a little easier thanks to the opening of Shop24, an automated convenience store.
The Shop24 stands nine feet high, is 13.5 feet wide and 10 feet deep and occupies space in front of Neubig Hall in the heart of campus. The store can dispense items ranging from 1 ounce to 8 pounds and will carry about 175 items. Students will find typical convenience store items.
The project is a partnership between the College’s Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) and Shop24, a world leader in the automated convenience store market. The Shop24 series of products are self-contained, unmanned retail stores designed to capitalize on the gap between staffed convenience stores and traditional vending machines.
ASC will celebrate the grand opening of its new convenience store at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28. SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum and Jason Santoro, vice president of sales with Shop24 Global, will offer remarks on the occasion.
Construction of the Shop24 kiosk was completed over the winter break to prepare for the start of classes on Monday, Jan. 24.
|On Jan. 28 Ariel Morrison, an inclusive special education major from Madison, N.J., made the first official Shop24 purchase, of cookie dough, with Shop24 Global vice president for sales Jason Santoro looking on.|
“We surveyed our students to identify what items they want to see in the store,” said Terry Cahill, who directs ASC’s College Store inside the adjacent Neubig Hall.
Patrons can choose the products they desire from a computer screen and the Shop24 robot selects the items and places them into the shopping basket. Up to eight items can be purchased in a single transaction.
The convenience store will carry a wide variety of foods and beverages as well as several non-food items that students use on a daily basis, Cahill noted. Shop24 accepts cash, credit cards and Connections cards, which feature a declining balance account that many students use for purchases on campus.
“By partnering with Shop24, we are able to leverage technology to offer our students all of the advantages of a traditional convenience store without the high labor costs typically associated with those operations,” said Pierre Gagnon, executive director of ASC.
While automated convenience stores are a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S., Shop24 has extensive experience in the field.
“We are the leader in the automated store market,” said Ken Horner, CEO of Shop24 Global. “We have the first-mover advantage with more than 230 stores delivered to date, predominantly located throughout Europe and now with a strong presence in the U.S. market at our locations in Ohio, New York and California.”
Founded more than 50 years ago, ASC is a not-for-profit organization that provides dining services, vending, bookstore, student ID cards and other essential services to the campus community. ASC is governed by a board of directors made up of students, faculty, and administrators at the college. ASC employs over 400 regular staff members and students and is the largest employer of students on the SUNY Cortland campus.