Bear Bucks continues expansion

| News Editor

Bear Bucks is about to get bigger.

Within the next several weeks, Half & Half in Clayton, The Good Pie—a new establishment soon opening on the Delmar Loop—and the Starbucks that will be opening in the new business school buildings will be joining the Bear Bucks program, barring unforeseen circumstances.

The additions continue Bear Bucks’ recent expansion, which included locations such as Pastaria in Clayton and zpizza on Wydown Boulevard in the last year.

“So far, we’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from merchants,” Rachel Reinagel, manager of Campus Card Services, said. “Pastaria is one that joined recently that is doing really well, and we’re in the works of adding new merchants in the Clayton and U. City areas.”

The program now has 48 members. Reinagel added that in the program’s history, it has only lost two merchants. The first was Green Bean, which closed, and the second was the Delmar Loop location of Subway, which she explained left the program because the owners weren’t getting the kind of traffic they expected.

Although the program is still adding new businesses, Reinagel explained that it is not seeking them out.

“Of course if students or faculty come to us and say we’re interested in this business, we’ll definitely reach out to them, but right now we’re not actively pursuing merchants,” Reinagel said.

Brent Miller, the owner of zpizza, saw that Chill Frozen Yogurt, located next door, was using Bear Bucks and decided to reach out to the program. Three or four weeks later, zpizza began accepting students’ cards.

Miller explained that the venture hasn’t quite paid off yet, but he remains optimistic.

“It’s been okay, probably maybe five or six transactions a week,” Miller said. “At this point, [it’s] not yet [worth it] because it’s so expensive to start: $300 up front and a few other fees…but it’s only been two months.”

Ana Llewellyn, studio manager of Yoga Six, said the studio is happy with the program since beginning to accept Bear Bucks in June 2013.

“We find that it’s definitely worth it. I’ve had students stand at the desk and load their card,” Llewellyn said.

Llewellyn explained that Bear Bucks come in handy for students looking for towels or mats, which are rented for $2, but that some students use their card to pay for classes or class packages as well.

“I wouldn’t use Bear Bucks because I have the unlimited monthly plan, so it’s easier using other means, but I know lots of people that do [use Bear Bucks],” junior Michelle Winner, a frequenter of Yoga Six, said.

Senior Moira Moynihan is happy that the program is expanding and adding more local restaurants.

“WUSTL is always encouraging us to go beyond the bubble, and it’s nice when restaurants make that more enticing by accepting Bear Bucks,” Moynihan said. “Half & Half is a great brunch spot, and I am excited to hear they will be working with the WUSTL community in this way.”

Reinagel explained that students interested in getting involved with the Bear Bucks program can join the Bear Bucks Student Advisory Committee.

“We want to make sure we’re meeting the needs of those who are using the service,” she said.

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