New WKU store to open in Stadium Park Plaza

Monica Kast

WKU will be opening a new store in the Stadium Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green in conjunction with a new Starbucks location.

The new store, located in what was formerly Hitcents Park Plaza near the Bowling Green ballpark, will sell WKU merchandise and student-made items, according to WKU officials.

According to Gary Meszaros, the assistant vice president of Business and Auxiliary Services, the new location will target those who may not be inclined to visit the other store locations.

“It’s more of a tourist attraction because it is downtown,” he said. “We’ll also have souvenirs, gifts, polo shirts, sportswear — maybe even Hot Rods merchandise — things like that. It should be very unique.”

He also said they hope eventually to sell things like wine and cheese from the WKU farm.

Meszaros said he and his team have been working with Jerry Katzoff, owner of Stadium Park Plaza and the Bowling Green Hot Rods, to plan the store.

“We’re working with Starbucks and working with the owner of the location, Jerry Katzoff,” Meszaros said. “We’re all working together as a group to try to get this thing open this summer.”

He added that although the dates are a little fuzzy, the group hopes to have the store open by the Fourth of July, a big weekend for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Steve Hoyng is the resident district manager at ARAMARK Higher Education and also works with the WKU Restaurant Group.  He helped obtain the approval needed to open a Starbucks in the new WKU Store at Stadium Park Plaza.

“This is a really unique opportunity for us,” Hoyng said.

Unlike the Starbucks located on campus, this one will be open year-round. On campus, the Starbucks closes during breaks and holidays. Starbucks was chosen to enter Stadium Park Plaza for its brand recognition, Hoyng said.

Hoyng explained the WKU Store would operate as the franchisee of the Starbucks inside.

Meszaros explained how the gallery selling student work and products would operate.

“If a student makes a painting or something for a class, or a photojournalism student takes pictures, or ceramics, or sculptures, we’re going to give students the opportunity to sell their products there for a commission on a consignment basis,” he said.

He said the store would keep a small commission of whatever students sell there.

“Let’s say you make a painting, and you want to make $100,” he said. “We will keep some amount, whether it’s $20 or $30 — something like that. You set the price, and we keep a certain amount. So if you want to make $100, you might have to charge $125 or something close to that.”

Ann Floresca, the director of the WKU Store on campus, said the driving idea behind the store is tying it into the Bowling Green community.

“We’re hoping to turn it into a showcase of campus work,” she said. “We currently don’t really have anything like this.”

She said while the main store on campus sells things like textbooks, clothing and computers, the downtown store will be more focused on the Bowling Green community.

She added that in the coming weeks, the teams will be getting back together for more planning and figuring out exactly what the store will be selling.