Cumberland Ave. businesses excited to accept Vol Card dollars

It's moving time at the University of Tennessee and this fall, students will have new food options.

Back in June, business owners on the strip were working on a letter to send to the university explaining why they were unhappy about UT's plans to set up a competing store that would accept Vol Cards, basically pre-paid accounts students can use at campus bookstores and clothing shops.

But now, it turns out the university already had a plan that will allow other Cumberland Avenue businesses to accept Vol Card dollars and welcome more students into their stores.

"It's going to bring good revenue down to the area and help it thrive."

Gyrene Burger Company owner Rob Wynkoop is excited for the chance to have students spending Vol Card dollars in his restaurant; he says both sides have something to gain.

"There are thousands of students that use the Vol Card on a daily basis -- students who may have money on their card, but no cash in their pocket," said Wynkoop.

Over at Niro's Gyros, Emad Aljaber counts offers a discount to get students in his shop.

"We need the student business as much as we can," said Aljaber.

He believes more places accepting Vol Dollars gives students more freedom.

"Students want to have more options to eat around here, not just 'hey I've got this store and that's where you can eat.'"

A spokesperson with the university says the Cumberland Avenue building should be ready for customers by time the Volunteers kick off against Utah State August 31st. The building will house a Panda Express, Raising Cain's, and an extension of the Vol Shop. For some students, shopping here and other places on the strip is a much more attractive option.

"It's a lot closer to where I live at than any place on campus. It would be very convenient for me and I would definitely take advantage of that," explained student Cameron Ubben.

But as the old saying goes, you can't please everyone.

"I'd rather have Cook Out, or Chipotle or Jimmy Johns - things that a lot of students already really like," said student Jacob Heglar.

Right now the university is working to find a vendor to get merchants signed up and be able to accept Vol Card dollars. They say linking the computer systems at all the businesses that sign up could take a while but hope to have it up and running by next fall.


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