Food is an essential part of GDS’ culture , yet rarely discussed. This year, one of the most significant additions to the variety of food options is the school store. Known by several names, including The Hop Shop, Tabata and Storey McStoreface, the store gained popularity by selling diverse snack options at low prices.
Junior Jonah Docter-Loeb, one of the store’s five managers, explained its goals: “The Hop Shop captures the business of those students, faculty and guests who want cheap alternatives to the vendors, want to support charity or are just looking to avoid the high prices and fees of the vending machines.”
The original idea for the Hop Shop dates back to the 2017-’18 school year, when Docter-Loeb collaborated with several students and faculty members to get the store off the ground.
“I first saw how expensive the vending machines were,” he said. “After checking out the prices of some of the favorite vending machine items, I realized the markup was absurd. With the help from a few friends and the amazing support of Dean of School Life Quinn Killy, we were able to do a soft opening during the exam period last year.”
Since then, demand for the store has exploded. “We were bringing in a maximum of $20 a day during exams last year. Now, we’re bringing in $375 a day. It’s been amazing,” Docter-Loeb said.
Sophomore EJ Joseph, another of the store managers, got involved after the pilot: “I went to the interest meeting for running the store in the second semester. Jonah saw I was dedicated to helping improve the school store and asked if I wanted to be one of the heads.”
Joseph also touted the skills she has gained from the store: “I thought it was cool that students were getting business experience while helping charities.”
In the future, the store has big plans. Docter-Loeb explained, “Currently, we are on track to raise upwards of $2,500 a month for any given charity and are working with the school’s financial advisors to contribute a certain portion of the profits to the GDS equity fund. We also want to sell healthier products at cheap prices. Eventually, there are talks of us having our own room in the new building.” He also said that the store is moving towards reducing its carbon footprint by stocking items with more sustainable packaging.
The store not only incorporates student feedback to better serve the community but also has an instagram account to connect with and inform GDS students. “We will always listen. Approach us, email us, or talk to us, and we will try our best to accommodate,” Docter-Loeb said.
Docter-Loeb encourages any students who want to get involved with the store to contact him and implores students who know people associated with the food industry to reach out to him regarding potential partnerships.
Both Docter-Loeb and Joseph have thoroughly enjoyed their experiences with the store. “It’s been a lot more work than I thought,” Joseph said, “but I love doing it. Knowing that our work goes to helping people makes it worth it.”
The success of the store is just the beginning. With weekly improvements and adjustments, the shop is always prepared to adapt to changes around the school. Just as the Hop Shop has made a large debut, it seems that the store has a large future ahead of it.
Harrison Lundy ’21