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New Hillsdale Taco Bell recently opened a few blocks away from the old location on M 99. Courtesy | Kalli Dal­rymple

Hillsdale stu­dents going on late night Taco Bell runs these past few weeks may have been sur­prised to see that the local branch is no longer con­nected to the Shell gas station. On August 21, a new Hillsdale Taco Bell opened —  a few blocks closer to campus.

Hillsdale alumnus Nathan Grime 20’ was the first cus­tomer at the new location. When he tried going to the former location, he was shocked to find it closed. The staff told him the date and time the new one was opening. 

“I woke up early that morning and got to the new Taco Bell about 15 minutes before it opened,” said Grime. “We ended up waiting about 30 minutes since they were still getting final things set up, but we ulti­mately did become the first cus­tomers to be served. It was some­thing I probably shouldn’t be proud of, but of which I am incredibly proud.”

Manager Alycia Lucas said that every 20 years Taco Bell fran­chises are either remodeled or they build a new store. The com­bi­nation of the new location and the arrival of stu­dents on campus has led to a huge jump in sales, which are up 80%, according to Lucas. When asked if COVID-19 has affected business, Lucas said the main impact is that the lobby is not open for dining, but that they have still had a steady stream of sales through take-out and drive-thru orders. Since the pre­vious store did not have a full dine-in lobby, not much changed in that regard.

Stu­dents on campus are excited about the changes. “The first time I saw the new Taco Bell, I was over­joyed that it was eman­ci­pated from the gas station,” said sophomore Cece Moran. “After a long day of classes, nothing beats a good old cheese que­sadilla.”