Wearing black and holding wide-open wallets, a group of WVU students took one final trip to the soon-to-close University Avenue Sheetz on Tuesday night.
A memorial service with a full eulogy was held in honor of the store, which is expected to close in the coming weeks.
“I was a little bit surprised [at the turnout],” Kirsten Roys, an Honors Hall resident assistant and organizer of the event, said. “I wanted people to go, but of course you can’t make people, and you can’t make people interested, but I was pretty pleased with how many people showed up.”
Approximately 50 students were in attendance for the memorial, which was completed with a rendition of “Taps,” performed outside by Trenton Ashley, a member of The Pride of West Virginia, following the ceremony.
It was announced in September that Sheetz, a campus-wide favorite due to its convenient location and 24-hour access, would be closing the doors to its Sunnyside location after deciding not to renew its lease with the University.
In response to the announcement, Roys took it upon herself to honor the store.
In early November, during a staff meeting of resident assistants and the Honors Hall residence hall coordinator, Roys heard someone jokingly mention holding a funeral for the closing store. It was supposed to be a joke — with no action taken from it — but Roys felt otherwise and decided something needed to be done.
“I think the joke was made lightly, but I kind of thought — I lived here last year, in Honors Hall, and I live here this year too, and we would go to Sheetz so many times,” Roys said. “All the dining halls close early, and especially on weekends they close at 6:30 [p.m.], and on weekends, I wake up later, I eat later, so I think it has more of an impact with a lot of the dorms on the downtown campus.
“Sheetz is the closest thing, it’s convenient and the quality is pretty good.”
The closing of the store has the largest effect on freshmen and those living in residence halls, who not only utilize the store for quick food at 2 a.m. after dining halls are closed, but also for basic groceries, such as laundry detergent and paper towels.
Following the November staff meeting, Roys, a sophomore civil engineering student, took the idea of a memorial service to the residence hall coordinator, who “thought it was kind of weird.” Despite the hesitancy, the event was approved once Roys mentioned there would be no cost associated with it.
Although the announcement was made nearly two months ago, students across campus are still adjusting to the thought of Sheetz leaving, and are curious what will be brought in next.
“I would like to see something at least that has food,” Roys said. “Not necessarily only food, more like groceries, because Sheetz you can go and get ice cream and stuff like that.”
No matter what takes over Sheetz’s place in the building, Roys knows it will not be the same.
“It feels like the end of an era,” she said.