Weber State Downtown completes project, opens campus store

(Photo by Jake Alvey) Waldo the Wildcat welcomes patrons to the new Weber State downtown campus store. The store, along with all of Ogden, celebrated Weber State University Day on Jan. 7.
(Photo by Jake Alvey) Waldo the Wildcat welcomes patrons to the new Weber State downtown campus store. The store, along with all of Ogden, celebrated Weber State University Day on Jan. 7.
201401071-7 125th Celebration (Jake Alvey)
(Photo by Jake Alvey)Weber State Downtown campus store employee talks with a patron during Tuesday’s grand opening.

On a chilly Tuesday night, Weber State Downtown’s campus store officially opened — just in time, too. Jan. 7 marked the first Weber State University Day in the Ogden community.

The building referred to as Weber State Downtown is now complete with a campus store and Apple product retailer on the bottom floor. The rest of the historic building is home to Startup Ogden as well as Continuing Education classes offered through WSU.

Richard Hyer, the new chair of the Ogden City Council, said that, to commemorate the special event and holiday, he and the council all took the day off.

“We rescheduled all of our meeting for the day till Thursday so we could all be here, and it’s been wonderful,” Hyer said.

Ogden City Council members Neil Garner and Caitlin Gochnour agreed.

“It’s very important that we are all united in supporting Weber,” said Garner, who was also wearing purple.

Ogden City planted 125 WSU anniversary flags on the entire municipal building block that extends from 25th to 26th Street and Washington Boulevard to Grant Avenue to show support for the university. City employees also wore purple attire on WSU Day.

Gochnour said collaboration between Ogden City and WSU really began with the College Town Initiative that was signed into place last year. The initiative, although broad, ensures a cooperative relationship between the city, downtown businesses and the university.

“There’s just so much cooperation and communication between the city and Weber,” she said. “It’s just gone to a new level.”

Hyer, who has lived in Ogden for nearly all his life, said with excitement that the synergy between the city and WSU is going to benefit everyone in the community and “make this city come alive.”

WSU President Charles Wight cut the purple ribbon to a chant from the WSU Spirit Squad. WSU students, alumni and supporters and members of the Ogden community flooded the new addition to the building and immediately began purchasing WSU gear. Others were there to enjoy the cake.

Joel Head, a current student studying photography, was working at the new downtown campus store Tuesday. Head, who previously worked in the technology department at the main campus’ bookstore, said a lot of long hours went into the preparation of the downtown location.

“I used to work for Apple as well, so the event and atmosphere is very similar to an Apple opening, and it’s gorgeous, the store is gorgeous,” Head said.

The campus store functions not only as an Apple retailer, but also as a coffee shop. Community members as well as WSU students are able to purchase tickets to Wildcat sports games, pay tuition and hang out in the new downtown space.

Head said he teaches tips-and-tricks lessons on the iPad, the computers and everything Apple.

“The big thing about this store is that we are away from campus, but we’re here to help the community through education,” he said. “So with those classes, people from around the neighborhood are welcome to purchase stuff through us and they can come and learn.”

These classes are offered through WSU’s Continuing Education program and taught by Head. Head said a majority of the classes will be taught on Saturdays.

Brandon Cooper, Ogden’s deputy director of community and economic development, said he has been with the Weber State Downtown project since the beginning. He said he loved seeing the building complete.

“To see the building go from the ghost of a shell that it was to a fully functioning gorgeous store, this is probably one of the best merchandise, best-looking retail stores on the Wasatch Front,” Cooper said. “It’s just so fulfilling, and I love it.”