Store prices no longer convenient
As food prices continue to rise across the country, convenience stores in New Brunswick are trying to remain competitive for their University students.
"If we tell them too much, they don't buy here," said Abdul Bharuchi, manager of RU Mart on Easton Avenue. "That's why we don't make as much money for our pocket."
Krauzers Food Store manager Rasik Patel said his cost for basic food items such as milk, eggs and bread, have risen as much as 25 percent in the last three to four months. He said he had to pass some of the expense on to his customers and may have to raise his prices again in three to four weeks.
About eight months ago, Patel said milk cost him about $2.79 and he was selling it for $3.39. He said he now pays $3.60 and charges $3.99.
Erik Straub, a Rutgers College junior said he has noticed the increased prices after walking to Tito and his Junkyard Dogs on Easton Avenue.
"I walked to Tito's with a certain amount of money because I thought that's how much things cost, and I had to walk back [home] to get more money," said Straub, an Easton Avenue Apartments resident.
Straub said he usually goes to Dutch Deli on Easton but wouldn't necessarily shop at other places if the prices go up.
"They can't afford to sell stuff at supermarket prices," Straub said.
Gennaro Torre, a Rutgers College sophomore, said he prefers to go to supermarkets such as Shop Rite or Stop and Shop to purchase his food when he can get a ride. He said he mostly eats at home or goes to the dining halls because it is difficult to shop off campus without a car.
"Convenience stores jack up the prices," said Torre, who lives in the Winkler Suites on Busch campus.
Still prices at convenience stores in the city have remained close to the Stop and Shop Supermarket on Easton Avenue in Franklin Township. Items such as cigarettes cost less at the local stores, but the bread at Stop and Shop is cheaper.
Besides remaining competitive, Bharuchi said he tries to keep prices low because he understands students are trying to save money.
"Why spend that extra $3 on a sandwich?" said Kevin Minchella, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. Although he doesn't shop at these store often, he said students are always trying to save cash because the cost of tuition and books are so high.
But Patel said keeping prices low have begun to affect his store. Their profits have been down about 3 to 4 percent, in the last couple months. He said he doesn't want to raise prices and lose customers.
"Small businesses get hit hard." Patel said, adding the stores also face higher rent due to increasing property taxes.
Torre said he thinks the rising food prices will be detrimental to the health of students. He thinks students will buy the cheaper, less healthy products.
Bharuchi said increasing gas prices, which have doubled in the last four years, have contributed to higher prices causing his costs to go up.
"This affects everyone, it's not good for anyone," Bharuchi said.