Necessities’ New Inventions
The Necessities student store returned to its previous location down the hall and around the corner from the cafeteria this year, hosting a number of innovative new features under the guidance of Student Life Operations Manager Heather “Maz” Mazorow.
“They put me in charge of the store on Aug. 3 and I had 23 days to get permits and do construction,” Mazorow says. “The store was moved here from the library because they said the library was not a social space and I could control the hours more fluidly.”
Ten different cellophane-wrapped care packages filled with candy, drinks and other goodies are available for purchase at Necessities, marketed specifically toward parents to buy for their kids (hint, hint, Mom and Dad). For the first time, students can sell their own artwork in the store, minus a small commission. Actual necessities like notebooks, toothbrushes and laundry detergent fill the shelves after having disappeared under Bon Appetit’s management last year. Students may also notice a drop in prices since the school took back over the store.
“The school doesn’t want to lose money on it,” Mazorow says, “but the whole idea of a student store was that it be an easy, convenient and affordable place for students to shop.”
Ten student workers fill shifts at the store, utilizing CSA hours rather than government-funded work study hours, which means salaries come out of the school’s budget. Meg Colburn mans the register on Tuesday afternoons, having filled the position two weeks ago after another student had to quit.
“You left me and I bought a bunch of stuff,” Colburn says as Mazorow enters Necessities.
“Good,” Mazorow replies. “You’re helping my bottom line.”
Colburn holds up a protein bar.
“Also, you need to get rid of these immediately,” she says. “They taste like dirt.”
Mazorow tastes the bar and agrees, saying she’ll switch them out. She takes suggestions very seriously, prompting all of her employees to ask students what else they want to see in the store. When noted that condoms were noticeably absent from the shelves, she said they will likely be added due to frequent requests.
On a shelf at the back of the store, care packages rest in red baskets, ready for purchase. A catalog details the various options and pricing, including the Break Time package which comes with tea, cocoa and Starbucks drinks for $28, and the Exam Cram package which contains energy drinks and protein bars for $35. After getting some feedback from parents at Family Weekend, Mazorow put together some smaller collections at a reduced cost, like the Get Well package for $10, which includes Honey Bear, Tazo Tea and Emergen-C. The Break Time package was so popular that it’s already sold out. Parents can also design their own packages or make special requests.
Necessities also reached out to students and all of the degree programs regarding selling items at the store. So far, few have taken them up on the offer, but the possibilities for merchandising are endless. Freshman Photography major Courtney Grover has prints of her work for sale, and the student-led Graphic Design club, Alexis Collective, designed T-shirts for purchase. Alexis Collective Co-President Rufino Medrano says that selling their wares at the store reduces the complications of taking credit cards and paying Square fees.
“There’s always going to be traffic through the store,” Medrano says. “They also keep track of what sold the most and what didn’t.”
Alexis Collective printed various T-shirts in order to generate revenue for students in the Graphic Design department, so that if there’s a show coming up, the club can offer a scholarship to students.
“We want to offer students an opportunity to go to competitions,” he says.
The Performing Arts department is currently the only major selling merchandise in the store. The PAD T-shirts, which feature the Greer Garson double-G logo, are available for pre-order. Mazorow says the only department she hasn’t spoken with is Creative Writing and Literature, but she hopes to be able to sell SFUAD publications like the Glyph literary journal in the future.
Mazorow is in the process of procuring a reach-in freezer for the store, and plans to open up a coffee shop in Necessities’ previous location in the library next year.
“We’re going to change it around, and we’ll offer grab-and-go sandwiches and pastries. It will also be a lounging and study space.”
For those students who always seem to show up at Necessities outside business hours, have no fear. Student Voice just completed a survey requesting feedback on the best times to frequent the store, and Mazorow says she’ll likely do another poll on the Student Life Facebook page. The store is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store is closed on Sundays.