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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


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Students spend pretty penny at Rosie’s Market

KentWired investigation: Why are prices so high?
Designs by Mia Marino

While Rosie’s Market in Tri-Towers offers students a convenient place to shop on campus, some say they’ll be shopping elsewhere because of its prices.

“I work in a grocery store, so I know a little bit about how pricing of food works, and I’ve noticed that it’s even pricier than it is at a grocery store,” said Hailey Moltz, a freshman human development and family science major.

Some items in the store, such as a pack of Oreos, cost as much as 130% more than in neighboring grocery stores. Even health items are priced much higher than they are at nearby stores. An 8-ounce bottle of NyQuil cold and flu medicine, for example, costs nearly $6 more than a larger-sized bottle at Walmart. 

“It makes me not shop,” said Ava Foster, a freshman fashion merchandising major.

She offered a theory for the higher prices: “Probably because colleges want to steal all of our money.”

Kristin Burney, Rosie’s senior manager, said that is not the case.

“We’re only using one vendor right now for the most part in our stores, and that limits us a little bit to be able to sort of shop around and find the best prices,” Burney said.

The store’s current supplier is H.T. Hackney Company, based in Knoxville, Tennessee. One of the largest grocery wholesalers in the country, the company distributes to 22 states, according to its website.

Kathryn Eggleston, the vice president of marketing for H.T. Hackney Company, said manufacturers separate businesses into channels. Because the company primarily supplies gas stations, local convenience stores, hospitals and universities, it falls under the convenience channel where prices are higher for items that sell less, like personal hygiene and pantry products.

“People don’t typically go to a convenience store to buy Honey Nut Cheerios,” Eggleston said. “In the manufacturing world, you’re paying for convenience.”

Eggleston said H.T. Hackney Company does negotiate with manufacturers to lower prices for items that tend to sell better, such as Little Debbie snacks, and it works with stores to improve sales.

“That channel thing is an interesting battle we fight a lot because it’s not fair to the Rosie’s,” she said. “We go to the manufacturers a lot to try to help the [other] Rosie’s [stores] out there.”

The university has used H.T. Hackney Company as a supplier since it switched to in-house dining operations in 2021. As the cost burden on students becomes apparent, Burney said the university is starting a search for additional providers.

While the search is still in the early stages, she said the market will make an effort to provide students with healthier and cheaper options while supporting local businesses.

“In the first year or so, it wasn’t really our main priority, it was just to get it up and running,” Burney said. “And now that we realize, we really do want to provide that value for students.”

Alton Northup is a staff reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Alton Northup, Campus Editor
Alton Northup is a junior majoring in journalism. This is his first semester as a campus editor, and he is excited to welcome new reporters to KentWired. He previously worked as a staff reporter. This past summer, he interned for The Chautauquan Daily in western New York. Contact him at [email protected]

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