The latest addition to the lobby of Payne Whitney Gymnasium may seem a bit out of character underneath the ceiling’s Gothic arches, but administrators are betting that the “Convenience to the Third” (C-3) Express modular convenience store system will succeed where past efforts have failed.
At 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Yale University Dining Services will begin selling snacks, beverages and sundries in the gym’s lobby. The Athletics Department decided to set up a C-3 Express after officials noted the success of a modular convenience store system that YUDS operates at 155 Whitney Avenue. Although past efforts to run a vending cart inside the gym have failed due to financial problems, the C-3 is expected to pay for itself. The gymnasium already has soda and snack food vending machines, but the C-3 will offer items specifically chosen for gym patrons.
Gym employees and Yale students said they are excited for the new venue, which will operate from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The new snack bar is a good thing because if people want to eat, they do not have to rely on the vending machines, and they can get healthier food,” said Brian Dinatali, an employee in the Payne Whitney membership office.
Unlike the vending machines, which offer amenities like bottled water, sodas, packaged cookies and candy, the C-3’s selections will include yogurt, fresh-fruit cups, Powerbars, organic soda and Starbucks Coffee. Baked goods and salty snacks will also be available, as well as salads and sandwiches made fresh each day. And for those who only have a few minutes between a mini-marathon and evening section, the store can come to the rescue with deodorant, mouthwash and Ben-Gay.
“In order to provide good customer service, [the C-3] will be geared towards the needs of people patronizing a gym,” YUDS Director of Communications Karen Dougherty said.
She said YUDS determined the food and beverage selections in conjunction with Aramark, the private contractor that manages Yale’s dining halls.
The C-3 Express in Payne Whitney will operate in a similar way to existing YUDS facilities. It is expected to pay for itself and will function on a break-even basis at least, if not in the black, Dougherty said. A dining services employee will oversee the stand, which is just open on weekdays for the time being but will be open on Saturday and Sunday the next academic year if there is sufficient demand, she said.
It seems as though the demand is already high.
“Everyone on their way in and out of the gym are excited and look forward to it,” said Adjoa Boateng ’07, who works about six hours per week at the desk in Payne Whitney’s lobby. She said the snack and beverage service is needed, especially because most other gyms and health centers already have similar features.
While many gym patrons fresh off the treadmill will welcome the opportunity to eat after they work out, Philip Lang ’09 said he was concerned when he saw what looked like junk food in the C-3 stands last night.
“It’s junk, and athletes don’t need that,” he said.