Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Taste Buds Hoping to be "Hot Spot" for Augustana Students

Right around the corner from Augustana College’s campus, is the Rock Island College Hill District. Within the District, nestled on the corner of 30th and 13th streets, across the street from the PepsiCo Recreation Center, is the newly opened snack shop: Taste Buds.
Taste Buds offers a great array of items, including candy, high-end nuts, whole bean coffees and teas, spices, and fruit, vegetable, and coffee-based smoothies.
“We’re trying to appeal to a wide variety of people and what they want to snack on,” said Bret Gardella, Taste Buds’ owner.
Gardella plans to stock his shop with the snacks his customers want to have.
“If they want something I don’t have in the shop, if it’s available to me, I will get it in for them,” said Gardella. 
Gardella is already making plans to add something new to the menu in the near future: gourmet popcorn.
“We are going to try and do popcorn in Augie’s colors,” Gardella said.
Gardella hopes this close-to-campus shop will become a popular place for Augustana students.
“We’re doing our best to cater to Augie, but the students have to come see what this area has to offer,” Gardella said. “So much with what happens in this neighborhood is dependent on the students.”
First-year student at Augie, Bailey Aasen, has already paid a visit to Taste Buds.
“It was really convenient to have it close to campus,” Aasen said. “It would be easy to walk to and would be a fun spot to go to with friends to satisfy your sweet tooth.”
Along with rows of sweets to satisfy customers’ candy cravings, Gardella also offers many healthy options in his shop, through selling nuts and low in sugar/high in fruit smoothies.  
Other drink options in the store have been interesting customers, such as Aasen, as well.
“The coffee and tea beans looked great. I will definitely be going there to get some chai tea mix soon,” Aasen said.
Along with a variety of food and drink selections, Taste Buds also offers something else which interests students: free wi-fi access and a relaxing atmosphere to spend time with friends.
Taste Buds is making plans to start selling gift boxes, with options for either pre-made or customizable selections. Gardella is also trying to develop a way to have the boxes be able to be delivered to Augustana’s campus.
Taste Buds is currently open Tuesday through Saturday. Tuesday through Friday it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; however, Gardella is willing to adjust his store hours to fit the needs of Augustana Students.
“I really want to tap into the Augie crowd,” Gardella said. “I can base our hours around the students’ schedules, but I need to hear from them what times will work best.”
Taste Buds has provided coupons in the coupon sheets every Augustana student receives and also plans to run special promotions via their Facebook page. The shop is also currently developing a website.
In addition to running Taste Buds, Gardella has also worked as the City of Rock Island’s Economic Development Manager for ten years.
“This is a great city to work for,” Gardella said. “Big things are on the horizon for this city.”

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Taste Buds Hoping to be "Hot Spot" for Augustana Students