Students thrill to the chill of ICEE machine

Dagny Salas

As the Chicago winter starts to thaw and spring emerges, Northwestern students are looking for ways to stay cool.

The ICEE machine, installed in Norris University Center’s convenience store at the beginning of Spring Quarter, is one of the newest options available.

Marketing tries to come up with a new feature for Norris every quarter, said Chris Gargiulo, the manager of Willie’s Food Court. The ICEE machine was proposed in November but was not installed until March because electric and water utilities had to be installed.

Gargiulo said he hopes warmer weather will attract more students to the ICEEs and the convenience store.

“We want to become a one-stop shop, (and) summer is coming up,” Gargiulo said. “Students come in and get their stuff, and while they’re here they get an ICEE.”

Students can buy a small ICEE for $1.39 or a large ICEE for $1.79. They can choose from three flavors: Fanta Blue Raspberry, Fanta Wild Cherry and Coca-Cola Classic.

McCormick freshman Lee Sheets said she was thrilled by the options when she saw the machine for the first time.

“I get them all the time at home, so it was pure excitement as I stood in the doorway,” Sheets said. “I can actually get them here (now).”

The convenience store has sold about 175 ICEES a day in the two weeks the service has been available, Gargiulo said.

Communication sophomore Robin Willis said she understands its popularity.

“It’s an incentive to come to Norris,” Willis said. “It must be quite a lucrative investment, because they’re everywhere now. There’s always someone with an ICEE – it’s like you know I’ve been to Norris.”

The ICEE company covers maintenance and repairs for the machine, Gargiulo said. Norris pays for the beverages and containers.

“We are selling their product, so it’s free as long as we have the machine,” he said.

The Norris convenience store is the only location on campus with an ICEE machine, Gargiulo said. He said he doesn’t know if more machines will be added across campus, but for now Norris is a “testing area.”

Communication sophomore Toccara Baker said she hopes the service will one day be available in other convenience stores on campus. Baker lives in Allison and said the walk to Norris is too far for an ICEE.

But for Willis, the allure of the ICEE is enough.

“I was just going to go to the library but I was like, ‘Hey, I should get an ICEE,'” Willis said. “I got my 12 ounces of goodness. They taste good. It’s syrup and ice; what’s not to love?”

Gargiulo said he also sees the long-term potential of the ICEE machine.

“We’re going to see movement when they first come in,” he said. “Eventually the popularity will go down, but people will still buy it because it’s refreshing.

“We carry 75 different types of sodas and beverages, but this is something totally different.”

Reach Dagny Salas at [email protected]