Tight space design: Munchy Mart, University of Northern Colorado

Designing around three columns was just one of many of the Munchy Mart's challenges.

When the campus university center was looking to make a few upgrades, dining services was trying to decide how to best serve customers' needs, says Brown. One of those needs was that customers desired a c-store, which the campus didn't have elsewhere. When the copy center moved out, Brown was asked what he thought about putting a c-store in the location, and his first concern was the size—it was less than 900 square feet.

"We were able to negotiate some space behind that location that used to be storage area," Brown says. "We got an extra 300 or 400 [square] feet to put in a walk-in cooler and a little bit of dry storage."

Brown then brought in Bakergroup, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based design consultants, to give the space its retail feel.

"I didn't want it to be stark white like a gas station c-store," Brown says. I wanted it to be much more modern and an upbeat space. If you feel good about the space, it’s my opinion that [customers will] buy more."

A lot of the retail feel of the space is created by the lighting and the bright colors. "As we developed through that process I kept saying I wanted a fun and funky feel," Brown says. "I think the green really highlights a lot of the fresh product that we have in the store. We wanted curves because the room itself was such a shoebox." 

Brown also had students involved in naming the store from the beginning.

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