The new-look Union shop in Falmer House

The new-look Union shop in Falmer House

Falmer House Union shop has undergone an extensive refurbishment to offer a better service to students.

The University of Sussex Students’ Union (USSU) invested a total of £110, 000 in the refitting and updating of the shop, which had become run down. Assistant Director of Commercial and Central Services John Houlihan, who oversaw the investment, described the changes as “well overdue,” pointing out that the old cramped layout wasn’t helpful for customers shopping during busy hours. The new shop floor has been designed to maximise space, aide a one-way customer flow, and ensure that queues will move quickly. Houlihan feels that this investment in the campus facilities reflects the Union’s commitment to meeting the expectations of fee-paying students: “I’m absolutely delighted that the Union is investing in the future…this should be the benchmark”.

The shop will now provide students, particularly the residents of nearby Stanmer Court, with a range of basic conveniences. Recent additions to the usual range of sandwiches, snacks and Fairtrade products include a section for magazines and newspapers, a coffee machine and a selection of international foods. The shop also boasts the cheapest lunch available on campus: £2.89 will pay for a sandwich, a snack and a drink Meal Deal.

The shop is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday. The Union is currently applying to the University for a license permitting the shop to sell wine and beer between the hours of 5pm and 8pm.

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4 Comments

  • Just wanted to add a clarification. The entire cost of the refurbishment works to the Union Shop, all £110K of it, was funded by the Students’ Union. The funding is re-investment of profits from the shops & bars to provide better services for all students. Oh, and the article forgot to mention that the shop sells Wicked Fairtrade fresh bean-to-cup coffee at only £1.30 for a proper 12oz cup, easily the best coffee deal on campus (and its only a quid if you buy a bagel)!

  • I am wondering how much of that L110.000 have they spent on the refurbishment and how much invested into new products? New products will bring money back, while re-fitting has simply gone. The stock didn’t impress me, and the shop doesn’t look amazing. Certainly, not for that amount of money. The room is, obviously, limited, but I think they have spent far too much.

  • Robert, the expenditure was approximately £95K + vat on re-fitting. Shop-fitting is expensive and we actually got quite a good deal through a competitive Tendering process with three different companies. It might seem a lot of money if you’re unfamiliar with such, but that’s what things cost these days. It also didn’t help that the building is Grade 1 Listed, and as such we had to bear additional costs to comply with the requirements of English Heritage (rather expensive and labour intensive copper electrical cabling etc). Sorry you feel the Shop doesn’t impress or meet expectations, as all feedback to date has been really positive. We have introduced quite a few new offerings; Meal-Deal @ £2.89, hot drinks, increased range of ‘grab & go’ snack items, magazines/papers, international foods range, lots of Co-op ‘buy-one-get-one free’ offers etc, and in the near future we will have wine & beer sales from 5-8pm. We’ll be working to constantly improve the range so hopefully you’ll find it better as we go on.

  • Dear John,

    I have to admit you are really professional and it impresses me.

    Deals are really great, same as an opportunity to buy international and co-op food. The shop, in general, is much brighter.

    Grade 1 Listed building is something, what I haven’t taken on board complaining about the money that had been spent. Nevertheless, 110k it’s still quite a lot for such a small space. Some clubs (15 times bigger than the shop) or restaurants (5 times bigger) spend, respectively, 500-600k and 250k on full re-fitting whole buildings. But, generally speaking, the shop met my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s for students and staff use, not that much commercial on the aggressive market.

    Regards,