Katie Farthing, Contributing Writer
Selna Shi, News Editor
“They opened on a Thursday, and I passed [the store] and was like ‘oh, they’re open, they didn’t tell me,’” said Valentina Silva, a Ram City Market employee. “Later that night I got a call and they were like ‘are you available tomorrow?’”
Silva, a sophomore communication arts student, said the delay affected their employment because the management was unsure when they would be opening and when employees could start.
There are currently 30 employees at the store, according to an email statement by Anna Obermiller, communications specialist for VCU Business Services.
Ram City Market, located at 912 W. Grace St., opened on Dec. 5, 2022, after over a year of announcements, with a grand opening set for Jan. 25, according to an Instagram post by VCU Dining Services.
VCU first announced that Ram City Market would replace the previous Walmart on Campus grocery store in August 2021. The university expected a late fall 2021 or early spring 2022 opening, according to VCU News.
There are multiple posts on VCU Dining Services’ Twitter that promised the opening over the course of the following year.
VCU News announced the market’s arrival on Aug. 26, 2021.
VCUDine posted on Oct. 30, 2022 that Ram City Market would be opening on Nov. 2.
VCUDine posted an update on Nov. 1, 2022 stating the market would open on Nov. 3 and that further detail regarding a grand opening would be posted on Nov. 9.
VCUDine posted another update the following day stating the market would open on Nov. 7 instead.
VCUDine posted a third update on Nov. 7, 2022 thanking students for their patience and asking them to “please stay tuned for the Ram City Market opening date.”
VCUDine posted that the market was open on Dec. 5, 2022 alongside pictures of students inside.
Other students heard little information about the market in general.
“I didn’t even know there was going to be a Ram City Market until it opened,” Samuel Sarzaba said, a freshman computer science student.
Riley Strickler, a freshman pre-medicine track student, wasn’t frustrated with the delay — he didn’t know about the market.
“I didn’t really know it was going to be here,” Strickler said.
The market includes gluten free and vegan options as well as other allergen-friendly choices. The market is a closer option for fresh groceries for students, according to a previous report by The Commonwealth Times.
The store also contains cleaning and seasonal products, like holiday decorations. There are feminine hygiene products, fresh produce, canned foods and a coffee and tea station.
Trinity Yager, a freshman pre-nursing student and an employee at the store, said Ram City Market is a great place to buy groceries and use meal swipes.
“It’ll be very helpful, because I have 250 [meal] swipes,” Yager said. “Last semester I was able to get down to like 40, but I wasn’t able to use all of them. But this was definitely helpful.”
Sean Santos, a freshman information systems student, is hoping to use Ram City Market to buy fresh produce.
“I would definitely use my swipes more here rather than going out to other places,” Santos said.
The grocery store is a welcome shopping option compared to other places, like the P.O.D. Market, that the university offers for students like VCU junior Janya Dyson.
“Sometimes if I need quick stuff, like cereal, milk, it’s nice to have other stuff that’s not sold at P.O.D.,” Dyson said.
The Commonwealth Times reached out to VCU PR through email and called its 24-hour hotline six times for a comment. VCU PR did not issue an official statement in time for this article’s publication, but it plans to release a statement Wednesday morning, Jan. 17 at the earliest, according to an email response.
Editor’s Note: VCU PR’s sent an email statement regarding the delay saying “Ram City Market’s setbacks included receiving city permits, supply chain challenges and equipment order delays due to COVID-19. The grocery store opened in early December 2022.”