The Red Wagon Creamery ice cream shop in the EMU basement closed on Jan. 1 due to not meeting the financial obligations of its contract, according to school officials.
Dan Geiger, assistant director for retail services at the EMU, said they didn’t do as well as they hoped.
“The EMU is disappointed it didn’t work out,” he said.
Geiger said the contract between the creamery and the EMU was for a minimum base rent or a percentage of their sales, whichever was higher. Because they could no longer meet this, Geiger said it was a mutual decision between the EMU and Red Wagon to close their shop on campus.
Red Wagon opened on campus in September 2016 and was in the EMU for the building’s reopening that fall.
“We like their ice cream,” Geiger said. “It just didn’t sell.”
Red Wagon could not be reached by The Emerald and its website is also unavailable.
EMU seeks replacement
According to Geiger, the EMU is seeking another vendor for the location, preferably a local option to neighbor Townshend’s Teahouse.
Keeping in mind students’ price points, Geiger said having a variety of options on campus is an important factor.
“Students have a diversity of palates,” said Geiger. “So we’re not going to put in another burger place.”
Looking to drive sales later into the evening, Geiger said the new vendor would preferably appeal to students beyond traditional lunchtime hours like other national chains in the building.
One challenge in the search to fill the location is the space itself.
“It’s a great location, but it’s small,” said Geiger.
The space doesn’t have a hood for cooking things like burgers, he said, so that’s why an ice cream shop was initially appealing.
Geiger said they are seeking input from students on what should come next and are consulting the EMU board, which is comprised of students.
If you have ideas for something you want to see replace Red Wagon in the EMU, email [email protected].