Binghamton University retail store earns top honors in national competition
BINGHAMTON, NY - It might look like a throwback to the days of rock-n’roll and slicked-back hair but there’s nothing old-fashioned about Binghamton University’s Woods Diner. And earlier this month, the National Association of College and University Food Service (NACUFS) agreed, awarding this popular campus convenience store top honors in the annual Best of Business C- Store competition.
With classic checkerboard tile floors and a replica ’55 Chevy Bel Air gracing the walls, the Woods Diner caught the eyes of the judges with its mix of classic malt-shop offerings and one-stop convenience items served with a twist of modern technology.
“We wanted to get that classic diner experience but with the ease of today’s technology,” said Peter Napolitano, director of auxiliary services at Binghamton University. “And I think we have been able to do that with the Woods. By offering classics such as milkshakes and burgers in the traditional way as well as through digital kiosk systems and online ordering, we have been able to merge the best of both worlds. The feedback from our number #1 priority – our students – has been tremendous. The added bonus of receiving the NACUFS award reinforces what we already knew – that the Woods is destined to become a modern classic for Binghamton students.”
Recognizing leadership in product mix, marketing, layout, design and new ideas, the C-Store Best in the Business competition provides an opportunity for college and university campuses to share stories of their latest improvements and highlight their retail and convenience store best practices. College and universities must be NACUFS institution members to be were considered and competition is generally quite fierce among the campuses.
“We are very pleased to have been recognized with this award,” Robert Griffin, district marketing manager for Sodexo Campus Services. “We really like the way the diner space looks and feels, and we think that we have been able to provide our students with a service that doesn’t exist anywhere else on this campus – and most others, for that matter!”
The Woods Diner, which has only been open for about a year, had its humble beginnings as the old Nite Owl Café. After having served the College-in-the-Woods community for over 15 years, the Nite Owl was about ready for equipment replacement and much needed expansion. A complete makeover later, that included input from students, the 400-square-foot space resurfaced with a fresh but familiar diner look.
Woods is open daily from 8:30 a.m. through 1:00 a.m. and features a full-service grill and ice-cream shop in the evenings after the close of resident dining hours. A large digital menu board flashes the latest specials and updated information about campus activities and events. In addition to prepared food items, the Woods Diner also carries a complete line of convenience store items such as boxed grocery items, a comprehensive beverage and snack offering, Starbucks coffee, and a selection of grab-and-go items.