Bookstore Shuts Down to Become Full Time Candy Factory

No need to fear, Hi-Chew is here! Starting from the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, Metcalf Center, home of Western Reserve Academy’s bookstore, will close and become the new headquarters and main manufacturing plant for Morinaga & Co., the creators of Hi-Chew.

After years of renovations across campus, which includes the Athenaeum, the Wang Innovation Center and currently Seymour Hall, school administration agreed that Metcalf Center was next in line for change. “With the dean’s office moving to Wilson Hall and online shopping being utilized by the majority of the students, there is no longer a need for the book-store or Metcalf Center in general,” a school administrator stated. Toru Arai, CEO of Morinaga and Co., had been looking for a new processing location in the United States for the past few months, as most of the sales of the Japanese candy came from American consumers. Headmaster Christopher Burner ’80 heard about Arai’s search, and the two quickly struck a deal for the rights to the location.

The factory, expected to begin operations during the middle of the 2019-20 school year, will occupy 10,000 square feet of space. It will include a production plant, office space, taste-testing laboratories (the company expects to use students as taste testers) and a store where students will be able to purchase different Hi-Chew products.

There was much to be considered before making a decision as monumental as this one. A factor was that the school funds are lower than expected. Despite the philanthropy week efforts, continued action had to be taken after the senior class did not reach their class donation goal. Nonetheless, the plan is most beneficial to the student body, as Hi-Chew is undoubtedly the most purchased product at the bookstore. The candy will be easily accessible to students at any time. It is rumored that the company will give out a large supply of the candy to each member of the WRA community.

After the news broke, there were mixed reactions to the proposed changes. The majority seemed to be pleased with the proposition. Kevin Escott ’18 expressed, “It is the second best thing ever brought to this institution, only second to Boarding Ware.” Some had a different sentiment. “It is a stupid idea,” stated Kevin Deng ’19. “There are better ways to use the space instead of turning it into a candy factory.” Regardless, when the time comes, life at WRA will be a little more “sweet” than it is now.

– Steven Yam ’19

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