The Gellersen Kiosk has finally been given its new name: Gelley’s Grab & Go. The new name was announced at the official opening of the kiosk on Thursday, Oct. 15 after a contest was held where students could submit name ideas for the kiosk.
Parkhurst Marketing Manager Andrea Evans said that Thursday’s event was where the unveiling of the name took place along with having treats for the attendees such as hot apple cider and candy from Albanese. Alumni Ben Montgomery from Yaggy Road Coffee was there to give samples of his coffee and there were also drawings for door prizes along with prizes for those who picked the winning name. Those winners will win drip coffee for life from on campus locations.
Parkhurst Senior General Manager Lee Keener explains the kiosk is like a mini Grinders.
“So we have retail items and candy and chips and some beverages. We have the Next Meal Pick Up bags available there. We have sushi available there. We have the meal swipes for the hot meal available there for lunch and that provides people the opportunity to go in there and get hot food as well,” Keener said.
The kiosk actually opened over the summer, but Keener explains they were taking their time to figure things out.
“We opened right away. I think the meal plan started on the twelfth [of August] and we opened Gellersen on the seventeenth. I think we gave ourselves a week of trying to put it together as I don’t think all the equipment was in yet,” Keener said. “So we’ve been offering it from the start sort of under the radar as we’re getting our feet under us we’re learning what works and what doesn’t.”
The kiosk has been steadily gaining popularity since its unofficial opening.
“The usage has gone up every week so we’re doing meal swipes there and the meal swipes have gone up every week. This past week was the most we’ve ever done over there. And then we’re doing retail sales as well and the sales are going up every week,” Keener said. “And we’re not put off by the lack of numbers or revenue because we know that in the future it’s going to be a really useful site for everybody that’s on that side of campus.”
Dean of the College of Engineering, Eric Johnson has also heard positive reviews about the kiosk from the students who use it.
“One of the things that in the pandemic has been hard for us though is where do they eat so one of the complaints they’ve had is ‘It’s great to have these lunch options, but nowhere to eat’ so we’ve opened up the student lounge on the second floor now so that they can actually eat up there without their mask on and that’s the one location,” Johnson said. “Students, they like having the chance to get a cup of coffee over here and not having to walk to Grinders or back to the Union and so just the flexibility has been really beneficial.”
Johnson also discusses its use by commuter students who come to campus.
“I’m very excited, I think it’s good for the university, it’s not just good for the college. It’s good for commuter students who are over on this side of campus that are stopping in and taking classes and need a bite to eat real quick,” Johnson said.
The kiosk started out as an idea based on there being no food station on that side of campus as opposed to Grinders on the other side.
“This was something, I became dean nine years ago, and I really wanted something on those side of campus whether it’s in Gellersen or Urschel or someplace because probably fifty percent of the classes now are kind of on this end of campus between the science building and engineering and Meir so I think it would be very beneficial to students,” Johnson said.
Keener picked the Gellersen location after doing research on where the best location would be.
“Gellersen was the one that was requested the most. I think that’s because that’s where all the math classes on campus are so it gets the most amount of people. It’s not just the engineering students, but also because that seems to be the hub of that section of campus. All the stem buildings that’s where the busiest vending machines were, that’s where it seemed to get the most foot traffic,” Keener said.
The location of the kiosk is between Gellersen and the Fites Center.
“It’s on the first floor. It’s right at the edge of the Fite center which is the back side. One of the reasons I picked that location is because of the benefits. It's a high traffic area but it’s not near a lot of classrooms so it’s not going to be disturbing to classes and it also has access to an external door right there so they can pull up and unload everything very easily,” Johnson said.
He believes that the kiosk would not have been put in place without Parkhurst taking charge.
“Cost wise it was always an issue until Parkhurst came in and when Parkhurst came in then it’s different if an outside organization decides well they’re going to take a chance and put it somewhere versus the University. That’s extra cost for the university if they were going to do that so they always told me the reason they didn’t have anything on this side of campus was cost,” Johnson said.
Keener discussed the necessity of the kiosk this year.
“This year we were tasked with how to keep people away from Founders which of course goes against everything we live for, our motto is to try and bring people into Founders. So that made us think how could we solve a couple problems with one,” Keener said.
He had known of an available kiosk at a previous place of employment and was able to get it from there and bring it to Valpo.
“So we were able to put in a full service legitimate coffee station and retail outlet with a real espresso machine and a hand sink and we were able to do it all legally instead of a cart table in a hallway providing meal swipes,” Keener said.
Keener said they will continue to adjust the kiosk’s offerings based on what students want.
“What you see today isn’t what you’re going to see next year or two years from now. We’re going to do our best to tailor to those folks who are on that side of campus so again when people return and there’s more population over there then there’s no telling what it could grow into,” Keener said.
Johnson also believes that changes could come to the kiosk.
“So in the future if things don’t work out or they want to move it somewhere else it’s not like they’ve done renovations to the building. It could very easily be moved to another location if that’s what they ever want to do,” Johnson said.