Anabel’s Grocery, the student-run store that opened in the spring after more than two-and-a-half years of roadblocks, re-opened its doors for the semester on Tuesday in a newly-renovated space on the first floor of Anabel Taylor Hall.
Tuesday’s opening came after a summer of evaluating how the store can be improved since last spring’s soft opening.
General Manager of Anabel’s Michael Cornette ’19 said that since May, “We reviewed our processes and brought on more people to the purchasing team. It was really important for us to develop relations with suppliers and source the best produce.”
Open exclusively to Cornell undergraduate, graduate and professional students, the shop was stocked with produce, milk, snacks, frozen goods and standard kitchen staples sold at affordable prices with an aim to reduce food inequity on campus.
The store’s opening marked a major milestone in the students’ attempt to expand access to food on campus, a mission that has driven the project since its conception.
“Our main goal is to make a central place on campus where all students feel welcome and have access to affordable, healthy food,” said Samantha Chanko ’18, director of programming at Anabel’s.
Chanko elaborated on the decision to create a grocery store as a way to combat food insecurity as opposed to more conventional methods.
“We chose the grocery store medium because there is sometimes a negative stigma associated to food pantries or free meal services,” she said. “We thought that this would be the best way to make a compromise between making food more affordable while making everyone feel welcome without any negative stigma.”
Students can fill out a survey online and determine if they qualify as “food insecure,” Chanko said. If they do, there is a 10 percent food subsidy discount automatically applied to their purchase.
Anabel’s keeps its costs relatively low for students by being volunteer-run and because Cornell rents the space to the grocery without charging for rent or utilities, Cornette said.
Anke Wessels, the executive director of The Center for Transformative Action, an incubator that helped establish Anabel’s, said she hopes to make an educational impact on campus.
“Anabel’s is also about providing education to support students so that they know how to cook meals on a budget,” she said.