Convenient Deli welcomed customers to the new decade with a modern makeover, courtesy of a change in ownership.
Behind rows of refrigerated beverages, new owner Khalil Jamal meticulously inspected products as he took note of inventory. On Jan. 15, Jamal purchased Convenient from Kathy Frizzel, who owned and operated the business for 35 years. Frizzel is assisting Jamal with the transition before she happily embarks on her retirement. Jamal, a SUNY New Paltz graduate, kept his a eyes trained on his work as he enthusiastically explained his vision for the future of Convenient.
“We’re not just serving customers,” Jamal said. “I want [the deli] to be a place where everyone in the community can come to.”
With support from his three brothers and business partners — Sayeed, Sharif and Amar — Jamal spent a week scrubbing the interior from top to bottom and gutting features like the former salad bar and coffee bar. The once yellow and maroon walls were repainted: half red, half white and a clean black trim in the middle. Ancient cash registers were replaced with clean, white touch-screens and fresh card scanners. Serving tables and refrigerators were relocated, leaving a large gap between the front counter and the rows of snacks, which are some of the few unchanged aspects of the business.
One major change to the business is its updated alcohol licensing. Customers are now able to drink any alcohol they purchase within its walls. If you’re feeling peckish, an enhanced menu is on its way, along with nearly double the variety of products available. Some of the products Jamal mentioned include Mexican food, milkshakes, fresh-baked goods and a number of specialty sandwiches and wraps.
Jamal envisions his new deli as a social center that residents, middle-schoolers and college students alike can enjoy. To support that goal, he plans to double the space in the pre-existing sitting area all the way to the refrigerators on the back wall.
“I’m a fan of how much more floor space there is and the overall new, modern look,” said third-year biology major Luke Pikoulas.
However, some customers miss the old appearance that so many were familiar with for over a decade.
“I feel like the new design and layout has taken a lot of the charm out of the deli,” said second-year English major James Schell. “I’d go there because it was a place where I could get ice cream and talk about metal music that the cashier was playing at 1 a.m.”
Jamal explained that the makeover is part of his marketing plan to brand the deli as his own. His 10 employees are geared up with crisp, black company tees with “Convenient” stamped in the center in the Supreme brand style.
“Customer service and cleanliness are what we would like to build ourselves upon,” Jamal said.