By Alec Hill
The Sewanee Market, the University’s most convenient source of beer, cigarettes, and condoms, has come under new ownership in recent months. Students returning to the Mountain from summer break will find the Market in the same location in downtown Sewanee, but it is no longer owned by the University.
The business will be operated by the same family that runs the Shell gas station in Monteagle. With new ownership comes an entirely new layout, featuring a milkshake machine, and new, more extensive refrigerators. “Everything is new,” the Market’s clerk said, adding that the latest version of the 43 year-old Market opened July 17.Sewanee had originally bought the premises in May 2012, after the proprietors, Connie Warner and Mike Reid, decided to sell after 16 years of ownership. At the time, Reid and Warner agreed to continue to lease and operate the business temporarily, but the University has been searching for new management for over a year.
Though other vendors expressed interest in May 2012, the University has priority when it comes to all buildings on the domain, and was evidently eager to ensure that the Market continued to fit well with its vision for the rest of the Village and Downtown area. Now it seems they have found an owner with which they are satisfied.
To a large extent, the Market’s future is tied to the University’s plans for the intersection of Highway 41A and University Avenue. For school and state officials, pedestrian safety is a perennial concern, and in June the Sewanee Mountain Messenger reported plans for eventual “construction of the roundabout on Highway 41A called for in the Campus Master Plan.” It remains unclear how much the Market’s usual wares of junk food and dormitory essentials will change, if at all, though after a visit, Ansley McDurmon (C’16) said, “they have real bread now!”
The change in ownership is the latest disruption of the status quo in downtown Sewanee, coming less than a year after Shenanigans closed its doors.