Goodbye Laundromat, hello Cereal World

In May, Cereal World will replace the Tub Laundromat in Dinkytown.

by Allie Winter

Dinkytown will soon host a new store with a new concept: cereal and popcorn.

Cereal World and the Minnesota Popcorn Connection will take the place of the Tub, a Dinkytown Laundromat located for more than 70 years on 14th Avenue Southeast.

Store owner Mark Marshall will open the new shop with his wife Julie and he said they hope to be popping and pouring by May 15.

The store will feature 26 cereal flavors including common brand names and some specially-made types, 32 toppings, hot oatmeal and 22 popcorn flavors.

Marshall said store operation is quite simple and will be dine-in or take out. Specific prices haven’t been determined, but he estimated $5 to $6 would be enough for one visit.

“You come up, order your cereal and toppings, and we mix everything in a bowl for you,” he said.

Different types of milk will be offered including whole, 1 percent, chocolate and strawberry.

Popcorn works on a self-serve basis. Customers receive a bucket and take their pick at an array of flavors including cheddar, caramel, jalapeno, sour cream and chive, apple, cherry, rainbow and a seasonal chocolate-covered popcorn, to name a few.

Marshall said the business will survive on walk-by traffic and is geared toward college students. He said he and his wife drew on inspiration from their two children in college and their friends.

“It’s not like we’re opening up a sandwich shop,” he said. “It’s kind of new; we’ll just have to see what the reaction is.”

Dinkytown Business Association President Skott Johnson said he is anxious for the store’s opening and thinks it will really take off near campus.

“I think it’s a great niche; personally, I love cereal and I believe a lot of students would like to frequent the place,” he said.

Chemical engineering sophomore Andrew MacRostie said he eats cereal every day, mainly his favorite Blueberry Muffin Tops, and he might give the new store a try.

“It has potential,” he said. “It would depend on if I wanted something lighter.”

Cereal World also will have TVs and wireless Internet for students who enjoy homework with a side of cereal or popcorn.

Marshall said the reasoning behind getting into this business was pure chance and curiosity.

It’s something different, he said, and the first six or seven months will be a learning experience. Any changes made will come directly from student feedback.

“We’ll have to play it by ear; there’ll be some tweaking to do,” he said.

The couple expect to have the store open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Late-night hours are a possibility in the future, depending on student interest, Marshall said.

The couple are aware summer is approaching and campus traffic will shrink, but Marshall said they’re counting on all the summer students. They’re also planning for a staff of mainly students.