Local eateries will accept AllCard shop money

Allegheny students now have the opportunity to use their AllCard to eat off campus at a selection of downtown Meadville restaurants, adding an alternative to McKinley’s or Brooks and encouraging students to explore the town.

The AllCard can now act as a debit card, allowing students to deposit money into their shop account at financial services, then swipe using this Gator Cash at select restaurants in town. The Market House Grille, Creative Crust Bakery, The Whole Darn Thing Sub Shop and Pizza Villa, all restaurants within walking distance from campus, are now accepting the AllCard.

The system will be up and running by the end of the month as a few businesses are working to get the machines functioning properly.

Paige Conley, ‘14, president of I Heart Meadville, was the driving force behind this new initiative.

As a campus club dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of student involvement in town, the I Heart Meadville club sees the new merge between local businesses and students as a positive step towards an improved town-gown relationship.

Alongside Conley were a few other dedicated members, Zach Restelli, a 2012 alumn, and Ian Arturo, ‘14. Together with the club they worked on their own and coordinated between Allegheny College, Parkhurst and local businesses to see what was the most feasible way of working together.

The idea for a connection between local restaurants and the school was established over year and a half ago, when students from I Heart Meadville went to a meeting with restaurant owners, the college and Parkhurst to discuss the possibility of incorporating these swipes into the meal plan using Munch Money.

“That couldn’t happen because that’s too much tied into Parkhurst, […] they couldn’t do it at that time because, the way the contract works, they would have lost so much money that they wouldn’t be able to stay sustainable,” said Viki Allin, an owner of Creative Crust.

When they realized that Munch Money would not be an option, they turned to another option: Gator Cash, which is also known as Shop Money. Shop money can also be used at Grounds for Change as well as the library and bookstore.

“In the future, we would like to try to work on this and get it as an option when you are selecting your meal plan and maybe even eventually into the meal plan. We recognize though that this is very difficult […],” Conley said in an email. “We are hopeful that this is something that could be accomplished though, especially if there is a lot of student interest and a lot of students who utilize this component.”

This change could also be an opportunity for parents, who can be sure that the money they deposit to their child’s Gator Cash account cannot be used anywhere other than on campus options or local eateries.

The businesses are excited about the new operation and are hoping the novelty of the Gator Cash will attract new business.

“All of ’em come here anyways, but this might bring more down,” said Christine Jordan, the assistant manager of Whole Darn Thing, referring to Allegheny students.

Allin at Creative Crust Bakery suspects that news will bring more hungry students her way and establish an even stronger connection between the school and the town.

“Right now there isn’t any buzz,” she said. “Nobody is talking about these restaurants or talking about the downtown so we’re forgotten in a way when you’re going through your day-to-day routines on campus. Now as long as there is buzz and if every time somebody pulls out their I.D card, they think about being able to use it at four downtown businesses then they will be more likely to make the effort to come downtown.”