[vendtalk] Fw: up in smoke

Joe Shaw jrs3147 at comcast.net
Fri Feb 6 20:35:04 UTC 2009

Youthful idealism plus one of the best blind vendors Tennessee has has risen up and kept some college kids in their cigs and saved our manager's profit. 
Great job Mr. Johnson!
Joe Shaw 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Dwight Johnson 
To: 'Joe Shaw' 
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 7:01 PM
Subject: up in smoke

            Up in smoke

Dwight's profits may go up in smoke
Dwight's Mini Mart may no longer be able to sell tobacco products, which could affect profits
Emma Egli
Issue date: 2/2/09 Section:

            Media Credit: Alex Blackwelder


Beginning Feb. 15, Dwight's Mini Mart located in the Keathley University Center will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco products because of a change in school policy.

Skyler Crews, a sophomore computer information systems major, said that the Tennessee Board of Enterprises contacted Assistant Vice President Joe Hugh of Procurement Services to address Dwight Johnson on the selling of these items in his store. 

Joe Hugh could not be reached for further comment. 

"A friend and I went into Dwight's store, and he told us he wasn't going to be allowed to sell cigarettes anymore," Crews said. "The excuse they gave Dwight was because UT [University of Tennessee] is doing it." 

Crews said he has been working on a student petition to present to the Student Government Association that would allow Johnson, the store owner, to continue selling tobacco products in his store. 

"If the SGA were behind it, the petition would get sent to the Procurement Office," said Brandon McNary, executive vice president and speaker of the senate. "It would show them that this is something that the SGA cares about." 

SGA did not pass the resolution due to a lack of financial figures that would show how much business Johnson would lose. However, it still has the potential to be discussed further. 

"I just didn't feel like it was right to ask to see Dwight's personal finances," Crews said. "He told us that he expects to lose about 40 percent of his business because of this ban." 

Johnson, who is blind, has been running Dwight's Mini Mart since 1994. There is no law that states tobacco products can't be sold on campus, but Johnson has to follow the school's policy change. 

"He's this poor blind man that's been here for years," Crews said. "He's a wonderful patron of the school and the students love him."

Dwight's Mini Mart is the only store on campus that sells tobacco products, as well as the only store in the state of Tennessee that sells tobacco products on a college campus. 

"Why force us to walk across a busy intersection to buy cigarettes," said Nathan Gardner, a freshman nursing major. "Now people will have to walk to a beer depot to get what they want." 

Crews said that the banning will impact all of Johnson's sales, including drinks and snacks sold in the store. 

"It's not fair to put him out of business, especially when there is no good excuse," said McCray Pridemore, a sophomore art major. 

"It's not going to stop people from smoking if that's what the administration thinks."

Crews started a group on Facebook to gather students who are against the ban of selling cigarettes in Dwight's store, regardless if they smoke or not. 

"Dwight can't sell tobacco products, but the KUC can sell fatty foods when obesity is at the top of the list when it comes to health problems in America," Pridemore said. "This isn't UT. This is MTSU, full of individuals who make their own choices."

Crews said he hopes that with the support of students and exposure in the media, Dwight's Mini Mart will not meet the risk of losing sales and going out of business. 

"He supports the school and the students, and here we are just letting him go," Crews said. "He's been there for us; why can't we be there for him?"

Page 1 of 1 

More information about the VendTalk mailing list