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Panera bakes up new café on Lane

CODY COUSINO / Photo Editor

Panera Bread, LLC., has not found its success at South Campus Gateway to be enough, and representatives believe there is room for two or more locations at Ohio State.

Slated to open on Oct. 25, Panera Bread will open another location at 300 W. Lane Ave., formerly the Thirsty “I.”

Matt Stewart, director of operations for Columbus Panera Bread locations, said he believes there is room for more locations on a campus the size

of OSU’s.

“We just think that the university is big enough for two and maybe even three down the road,” Stewart said. “I think as the student population continues to grow and the faculty, we can continue to grow with them.”

Stewart said opening a new location on campus was an obvious choice.

“Ohio State is the centerpiece of Columbus and it’s a high-visibility location,” Stewart said.

The new location will feature a community room, which will allow students and faculty the opportunity to request rooms for study groups or lectures that can be catered by request. There will also be two patios, one in the front facing Lane Avenue, and one in the rear of the building.

Covelli Enterprises, franchisee of Panera Bread, began to pursue the Lane Avenue location around January of this year.

“We have goals of expansion here in Columbus and an obvious goal was to target this university area,” Stewart said.

The proximity to some classes might sway students to go to Panera.

“Since I’m in the business school and it’s right there, it will just be convenient,” said Bradley Patter, a fourth-year in marketing, who currently eats at the south campus location once or twice a week. “I thought it was kind of weird at first (having two locations), but I think it will actually work out.”

The amount of free parking available might also prove to be a factor. Panera leased 92 spaces behind the building for customers.

“I think they’ll have more parking and stuff if I wasn’t going to walk there,” said Ariana Sanders, a fourth-year in history. “That way you won’t have to use the meters.”

Arlington Construction Inc. has been constructing the approximately 8,500-square-foot building for six weeks.

The new location is just more than a mile from the current campus location on N. High Street.

Stewart thinks the new café will only “initially be of some affect” to the current one.

Jeff Berner, assistant manager for the N. High Street location, said he doesn’t feel that his location will suffer in the amount of foot traffic.

“I think both stores are going to do quite a bit of business,” Berner said.

Stewart agreed, and said the close proximity of the new store could benefit the company.

“I think that having two stores will help promote the brand name,” Stewart said.

Stewart said he’s excited to start building relationships with student workers.

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