On May 1, UCR welcomed a new Scotty’s near the UCR School of Medicine. The fifth of its kind around campus, Scotty’s is UCR’s personalized convenience store with multiple locations around campus. Unlike the other locations, this store will offer healthier options than the usual convenience store fare.
“We want to promote a healthy lifestyle,” said Kim Horbinger, the manager of the new Scotty’s, as well as the Lothian C-Store. “The notion came from the dining directors and they figured with the UCR School of Medicine, this was the right niche for the health-conscious market.”
Specifically, the store offers traditional healthy food such as fresh fruit, yogurt and sandwiches. There are also a few more unique items like kale chips and tofu sushi rolls. Specialty drinks range from orange juices to organic milk. Everything in this store is geared toward students and falls under one of five categories: organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO or under 550 calories.
UCR Director of Dining Services David Henry said, “We even created our own line of 500-calorie sandwiches to sell at this location,” adding that every product has a “health halo” attached to it, meaning that every product holds a health story or message attached to the product.
“People in their 20s are becoming increasingly health-conscious,” said Horbinger. “Just in the three days we’ve been open, we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. We challenge everyone to come out and try it out. We welcome feedback — what items would people like to see?”
Filled with student and staff employees, the Scotty’s took several years of planning and construction leading up to the May grand opening. UCR Dining Services currently employs almost 800 students in its restaurants and dining halls.
Henry notes that the new Scotty’s replaced the former dining establishment, Taco Fresco, which previously existed in the same area about four years ago. “Because the medical building and surrounding area were going through a renovation, we had to vacate that location and it was eventually torn down,” said Henry. “The Taco Fresco location was missed and we committed to putting a new concept in the same approximate area.”
The attempt to create a health-conscious niche market has led to interested customers. Jamaya Clay, a third-year housing and dining employee at the new Scotty’s, said business had been pretty steady over the last week, with more people coming to check out the new store. “I also like the outdoor feel … it’s so refreshing and different,” she added about the store.
The new Scotty’s is set up as an open area which gives the store more of an outdoor market ambience than of a regular convenience store. Amar Muhtaseb, a fourth-year biology major, mused that the setup reminded him of a Disneyland store and that everything looked new. He wandered around, looking at all of the unique new food before settling on a quirkily packaged almond milk espresso drink. “I’ll just give it a try, I guess,” he said gamely.
Located around the “Science District” consisting of Boyce Hall, the UCR School of Medicine, the Orbach Science Library and the Chemical Sciences Building, the new Scotty’s is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. For students who prefer more traditional lunch options, the Culinary Chameleon food truck will also be stationed nearby from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. and the Bear Tracks Coffee Truck from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on weekdays.