Dining With Denise Neil

Convenience store on wheels set to open at Wichita State

Overland Charters is turning this bus into a convenince store on wheels and will park it at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex at 5015 E. 29th St. N.
Overland Charters is turning this bus into a convenince store on wheels and will park it at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex at 5015 E. 29th St. N.

Why open a food truck when you can open a food bus?

That’s what the owner of Overland Charters concluded after deciding he should get in on the food truck scene booming on Wichita State University’s campus since the June opening of the campus’ new food truck plaza.

Overland Charters founder and owner Kelly Fankhauser, whose bus company has run WSU’s shuttle bus service for the past three years, plans to launch an unusual new business in the next several weeks: A convenience store set up inside a hollowed out bus.

“I just have seen all the food trucks in town, and I knew I didn’t want to be cooking a lot, so I thought, ‘Why not a convenience store?’” Fankhauser said.

The bus will be parked on the southwest side of the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 E. 29th St. N., during the times the shuttle buses run on campus – from about 6:45 a.m. until 10 p.m. on days classes are in session. Many of the students who are shuttled onto the parking-challenged WSU campus park their cars at the Metroplex, and Fankhauser figures they might need a drink or a snack on the way.

“We thought we’d do something that the students could really benefit from,” Fankhauser said.

The bus, a Hertz airport shuttle bus from Miami that Fankhauser bought online, has been completely gutted and will be filled with a coffee bar vending six types of coffee, a cappuccino machine, smoothie machines, racks of chips and candy bars, a doughnut case, a soft drink case, a hot dog roller and a microwave. The bus is big enough that customers will be able to step aboard, make their selections, pay at the counter and be on their way.

Fankhauser hasn’t yet come up with a name for the bus. He’s e asking Wichita State students who ride the shuttles to make suggestions between now and Friday, Sept. 23, by emailing buses@overlandcharters.com. The person who provides the name they eventually choose will get free beverages for a month.

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