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NMSU?s new student-run store opens Wednesday in Gerald Thomas Hall

What was once a small gelato operation tucked away on the third floor of New Mexico State University?s Gerald Thomas Hall has grown into a spacious store on the ground floor, stocked with shelves of products made by students on campus.

Woman in hat and apron adds ingredients to mixer
Whitney Biel, college instructor for the ACES in the Hole Foods course in the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, prepares blue cornbread mix for packaging and sale at Gerald Thomas Hall. The mix is one of the products available at the new Crimson Creations by ACES store on the first floor of Gerald Thomas Hall on campus. (Photo by Amanda Bradford)
Bags of brownie mix
Brownie mix from New Mexico State University?s ACES in the Hole Foods course is lined up and ready to be sold at the new Crimson Creations by ACES student-run store on the first floor of Gerald Thomas Hall. The store?s grand opening is Wednesday, Aug. 20. (Photo by Amanda Bradford)

The store, Crimson Creations by ACES, will mark its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration featuring tasty treats from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20. Regular store hours will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and the shop will offer brownie mixes, blue cornbread mix and other items ? along with ACES in the Hole Foods signature gelato.

ACES in the Hole Foods is a student-run food company at NMSU and a part of the curriculum in the Food Science and Technology major in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, or ACES.

?We have been selling our products for almost two years now out of our kitchen lab that we use for classes for food science, so it hasn?t really gotten the dry mixes out to the public very well,? said Whitney Biel, a college instructor who helped launch the ACES in the Hole Foods class in 2012 and manages the store?s operation. ?A lot of people have heard of our gelatos and sorbets, but they have to come all the way up to the third floor to get them.?

The new Crimson Creations by ACES storefront greets people as they walk through the lobby of Gerald Thomas Hall, making a pint of freshly made gelato much more easily accessible.

It also gives the students? food science learning an added dimension, as they discover what?s involved with every step of the process, from creating recipe formulas and packaging them for sale to keeping their store stocked and interacting with customers, said Jim Libbin, associate dean and director of academic programs for the college.

Students in the course rotate through different jobs, including production, quality control, sanitation and marketing, and they?ll also staff the store, Biel said. The students receive four credits for the course and put in 6.5 hours a week, making it more like an internship experience, she said.

Refrigerators in the store will be stocked with floral arrangements from the floral judging team and fresh organic produce from the student research garden, and Biel said she hopes to bring in additional student products in the future.

Customers can sit down at one of the shop?s tables to enjoy their gelato or sorbet, and Biel would like to add coffee and other offerings to give the store the feel of an ice cream parlor or café.

With the university?s recently acquired liquor license for Gerald Thomas Hall, the store may eventually offer beer and wine produced on campus.

?Hopefully, with the demand that will come from the store, we?ll draw more students to our food science program, so we can have a broader range of products we can offer,? Biel said.

The space for the store, located off the southwest corner of the main lobby in Gerald Thomas, formerly housed part of a storage room and some offices. It was renovated using university building repair and renewal funding. Future plans include using additional building funds to create a pilot plant in the nearby Tejada Building, which would allow students to make their products in greater quantities, Biel said.

For more information about Crimson Creations by ACES, visit crimsoncreations.nmsu.edu.

Crimson Creations by ACES products
(Items subject to availability)

Gelato (40 flavors)
Sorbet (14 flavors)
Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
Blue Corn Cornbread Mix
Leafy greens (lettuce)
Herbs (basil, chives, rosemary, sage, mint)
4-inch stem floral arrangements
6-inch stem floral arrangements