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August 11, 2005
CONTACT: Ron Podell
734.487.4400
ron.podell@emich.edu

CrossRoads Marketplace honored with a "Best in the Business" award

YPSILANTI - Ordering lunch, room service, a diverse selection of foods and a smiling and helpful staff. Sounds like something you'd receive at a fine hotel.

It's also something you can expect from CrossRoads Marketplace.

The National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) recently named the EMU convenience store one of the "Best of the Business" C-Stores (convenience stores). The trophy award, recognizing Crossroads' outstanding efforts in the category of marketing and merchandising, was presented July 11 at the NACUFS annual conference in New Orleans.

"Since we won, the morale of the staff has drastically increased," said Robert Campbell, manager of CrossRoads Marketplace. "They're all excited about it."

"We feel very honored to be elected by a national panel for this outstanding marketing and merchandising award from the best of the best," said Anne Klaes, assistant director of dining services. "The manager of CrossRoads Marketplace, Robert Campbell, and his staff submitted their store to be considered for this award and this is the first time that any of the C-stores have won this type of honor."

Like many convenience stores, Crossroads Marketplace stocks the staples, such as bread and milk, frozen foods and toiletries. The store even rents movies. But the store, located in Hoyt Conference Center, separates itself by offering a hot food bar that includes Mexican, Chinese, Italian and Indian dishes to cater to EMU's diverse student population.

"On weekends, students who don't go home always want meals they get at home," Campbell explained.

And for traditional American cuisine?

"Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans," he said. "We do listen to what students have to say and it works."

Part of that consumer interest is developed through taste tests of store products, prize raffles (bicycles and mini-refrigerators have been some of the items given away) and themed events, such as for Super Bowl Sunday and the NCAA basketball tournament. One student received a $100 gift certificate to shop at Target.

Room service is used by an average of 60-80 students a night during the school year, with most orders (chicken Caesar and Philly cheese steak are perennial favorites) coming from residents of the Village and Hoyt, Pittman and Hill halls.

The secret to the store's success?

"It's all about customer service and retaining your employees. If you retain your employees as long as you can, they grow to serve their customers," Campbell said. "I have had students six, seven, eight semesters. They've created that bond with their customers."

The store will definitely enter next year's NACUFS contest, but probably in the category of service application (customer service), Campbell said.  

"I want to do what we've been doing and then try to exceed that," Campbell said.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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