Grand opening of the T-Store

The on-campus convenience store is given a grand opening ceremony

More stories from Winter Heffernan

April 3, 2023

Photo by Heidi Giacalone

Karlgaard Towers Hall, where the T-Store is located.

The T-store, the new convenience store located in the southern half of Karlgaard Towers lobby on upper campus, had a grand opening ceremony on Monday, Oct. 3rd. 

“It has been open all school year, since move-in,” said Rhonda Wagner, the Sodexo employee and former Hilltop cook of 13 years who runs the store Sunday through Thursday. Wanger also spent some time last semester working at the now-defunct Hilltop Market.

Students had already bought chips, candy, frozen foods and other items from the T-store, but official opening fanfare was not given until the 3rd.

She explained that the opening event did not happen close to the actual opening because of delays and trouble coordinating times between her boss, Lower Campus Retail Manager Laura Karker and the event’s guests.

The event brought Chancellor James Schmidt, Armondo Chacon (general manager of Sodexo), Laura Karker, a Coca-Cola representative, and Channel 13 news all into the convenience store, Wagner said.

The event featured a ribbon cutting with the Chancellor, Body Armor Sports drink samples, (one of the new product additions) opportunities to enter a giveaway for a gaming chair, and a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card and a news interview with Armando Chacon, Wagner said.

The T-Store was built over the summer as a successor to Hilltop Market. It had less space and less products to choose from, Wagner said. Hilltop Market was placed by the stairwell leading up to Riverview Cafe.

“There is so much more room over here and there is so much more variety for the students to choose from. For instance, we have slushies. We’re gonna have coffee. We have got a bigger selection of ice cream, more produce, everything,” Wagner said, “It’s a fabulous place to work.”

Wagner said the T-store will be open on Sunday to Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The new store will be open more hours than its predecessor. 

Wagner said that her shift runs from 1:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and she was initially supposed to be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., but she decided that she didn’t need two hours for stocking shelves and sweeping, giving students even more time to use the T-Store.

“I think that it is really great, because a lot of us don’t have cars, and to be able to get some basic groceries, just, in the building is really helpful,” said Lily Nugteren, a first-year student.

Wagner said at Hilltop Market there were not enough products to justify being open for as long as the T-Store is now.

“I do like the T-store more. The atmosphere is better, and it just looks better. It’s nice that it is in the Towers lobby,” said Sky Skogen, a second-year psychology student.

There is no official T-store website yet (the Hilltop Market webpage has not been removed), but information will eventually be available through the UW-Eau Claire Sodexo website.

Footage of the grand opening and the interview with Armando Chacon can be seen on the Channel 13 article webpage.

Heffernan can be reached at [email protected]