With new initiatives, including a biweekly cooking class, theme days and a booth on the Agriculture Quad farmer’s market, Anabel’s Grocery is hoping to improve operations this semester.
The store, a student-run grocery located in Anabel Taylor Hall, officially opened in Fall 2017 with a mission of providing fresh, healthy and affordable food to Cornell students. It attracted around 2,000 unique customers during its first full semester, The Sun previously reported.
This semester is the grocery shop’s third semester in full operation. Devon Rosen ’19, director of communications for the grocery, told The Sun that she is “really excited about the upcoming term.”
After running the shop for a year and collecting feedback from customers, the leadership team hopes to improve operations and increase the store’s impact on campus, Rosen said.
Because last semester’s cooking class received “both positive feedback and demands,” the Anabel’s team is organizing a cooking program every other Thursday. The event has a free sign-up, and free food will be provided, Paula Paddack ’19, public relations manager for the grocery, told The Sun.
Anabel’s Grocery also hopes to set up a table at the farmers’ market on the Ag Quad every Thursday. Paddack said the team plans to sell a variety of produce from the store as well as provide fresh lemonade and cider for customers.
The grocery is also planning “theme days” at the store this fall as well as some educational events.
“On Halloween, we will be selling pumpkins, maybe candies and Halloween-themed things. On National Cereal Day, we will have a special discount on cereal. On Peanut Butter Day, we are offering recipes on peanut butter ingredients,” Paddack said.
Paddack also said the grocery was planning several panels with a sustainability focus.
In addition to rolling out new projects, Anabel’s Grocery will continue existing partnerships with several on-campus organizations.
Last semester, it worked closely with the Cornell Hydroponics Club and Dilmun Hill Student Farm, Paddack said. The two groups donated vegetables and herbs to the store, and the store promoted their organizations’ missions and initiatives in exchange, according to Paddack.
The grocery has also established good business relationships with Manndible Cafe and Fork and Gavel Kitchen, two on-campus eateries. The partnerships enabled the store to overcome one of its major operational challenges last semester — waste management for unbought produce, according to Paddack.
Anabel’s Grocery wanted to keep its store fully stocked with fresh produce for students, but if people did not buy the fresh foods, the produce would go to waste. With their partnerships, the store sells unbought goods to the local eateries.
“So for example … [if] we have a lot of avocados, they will buy from us. And the next day, Manndible will make guacamole for their burrito bars. In exchange, we will buy some of their premade food,” Paddack explained.
With many new plans and partnerships ready to be implemented, the team is optimistic for the term. But both Rosen and Paddack acknowledge there are still many challenges ahead.
“As we go from an amazing plan to an operational store, there is policy rewriting, restructuring [and] figuring out how we do as a real store as opposed to [just being] on paper,” Rosen said.
As for Paddack, she said her main goal for this semester is to “revamp the store and go back to its mission, which is to offer affordable and accessible food.”
“We are repricing most items in the store to try to meet that mission better,” she said. “One of the challenges right now is figuring out how to price and still stay sustainable.”
Anabel’s Grocery operated briefly during Orientation Week in August to provide services for freshmen and their families. It will transition to official operating hours again around Sept. 9 or 10, according to Paddack.
“In the new semester, we want to actively respond to what the student body wants, evolving as an organization … [and] exploring, expanding, growing to fulfill the areas and needs that are not currently met,” Rosen said.