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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Campus grocery options change

District Market, formerly located in the Marvin Center basement, will relocate and more closely resemble the old Provisions convenience store.

Opened after the J Street remodeling in summer 2004, District Market was a full grocery store including a deli. GW’s new food-service provider Sodexho relocated District Market to the upper level of J Street and rebuilt it as a convenience store – similar to the old Provisions market that was in the Marvin Center three years ago.

“The sales in the District Market were not enough, basically, to pay for the space,” said Nancy Haaga, director of Campus Support Services. “The use of the space for some other purpose made more sense.”

Sodexho won the 10-year food service contract with GW, projected to be worth $112 million in sales revenue, after former food-service provider Aramark withdrew from its contract due to profit loss.

Haaga said the new market will carry specialty items like kosher, vegetarian and vegan options. Healthy food options are a high priority for students, she added.

“Students have told us again and again that vegetarian, vegan and kosher options were very important.”

Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said there are no definite plans yet for what will go in the former District Market space.

Haaga said that the Dining Services Commission, a student commission comprised of Student Association senators, had helped with decisions about what to include in District Market and will hopefully be more involved with dining decisions this year.

“We’re going to have these regular meetings and the students will be able to tell us what they’d like to see,” she said.

Casey Pond, director of the Dining Services Commission, said the commission has been fairly inactive over the past couple of years, but it plans on having more influence with Sodexho.

“Sodexho is a company that realizes that they are more profitable when students are happy,” Pond said. “The more feedback that my committee and I have, the more influential our voice will be.”

While students are losing a full grocery store on campus, Trader Joe’s opened Friday on 25th Street between L and M streets. Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Trader Joe’s offers students an alternative to the Watergate Safeway, but with a greater focus on healthy and specialty items.

Junior Andrea Martin started working at Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and said she likes shopping there more than at Safeway.

“It’s better because the food here is so much better,” Martin said. “The produce is edible, and there’s a great wine selection.”

Senior Amy DiBella also said that Trader Joe’s would probably become her main grocery store. DiBella lives in the Claridge House, which is a few blocks south of the new market.

Michael Thomas, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s representative for residents in Trader Joe’s area, thinks the addition will be a benefit for Foggy Bottom residents and students.

“The community has been lacking grocery stores for a long time,” he said, adding that there is a lot of enthusiasm in the local community, “not just for a grocery store, but for this particular chain.”

Trader Joe’s carries many organic and healthy food options, as well as their own brand of foods.

“Since the area has undergone a lot of residential expansion, there is a growing market for this kind of thing,” Thomas said.

The University has plans for a new grocery store, more than twice as large as Trader Joe’s and the Watergate Safeway, to be built in the basement of the Square 54 complex on the old hospital site. The D.C. Zoning Commission will discuss approval of these plans Nov. 20.

-Kaitlyn Jahrling contributed to this report

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