By: Ben Hunkler
After more than twenty years in its Farr Hall residence, the Village Market has moved out. In accordance with the Kenyon Master Plan, the Market was moved this summer to its new location on the corner of Chase Avenue and West Brooklyn Street, where the Black Box Theater used to be.
Although it merely sits across the block from its former setting, the new Market features a new and unfamiliar atmosphere seemingly worlds apart from its humble past. The building, designed by Graham Gund ’63 H’81, boasts a sleek, white, North Campus Apartment-style frame. Inside, black hanging lights illuminate aisles of tidy aluminum shelves. The floors are spotless and products are neatly arranged; a slight smell of disinfectant permeates the climate-controlled air. Downstairs, state-of-the-art storage coolers house a vastly increased inventory of produce, beverages, meats and cheeses. It’s an updated look that manager Tim Newton feels properly conveys the essence of the new Market. “I love it,” Newton said. “I’m very proud.”
Students, though, are still unsure about the new Market. Lillian Fox Peckos ’20 said the new look too closely resembles a Whole Foods Market. “I miss the tiled floors,” she said, “and the small-town Ohio feel.” Rose Bialer ’20 agreed, reminiscing about the old Market’s quirky charm. “I think that [the new Market] is very nice and beautifully designed, but, to me, nothing can compare to the personality of the old Market. It doesn’t feel as welcoming or as warm.”
Students have also expressed concern over the Market’s new, earlier closing time of 6:00 p.m. “Does anyone go to the market before 6:00?” Fox Peckos asked.
Newton assured he is aware of students’ frustration with his limited operating hours. The current hours, he said, are due to an ongoing staff shortage. Several veteran cashiers resigned over the summer, forcing Newton to close the Market early until more staff can be hired and trained.
“I want [our staff] to be very comfortable before going into those new hours,” he said. To expedite this process, Newton — for the first time — is offering employment to Kenyon students. “Our goal,” Newton said, “is to, as soon as possible, stay open until eight — possibly by this weekend [September 9-10] … We just need to get some staff trained, and then we’ll get back to those later hours. I know everybody needs that.”
Newton also said he doesn’t foresee the Market opening earlier than its current starting time of 10:00 a.m. due to negligible sales.
Newton feels optimistic about the future of the new Market. “We’re very excited. It’s a nice building, and things are coming together very well,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a great year.”