Lafayette students returning to campus this fall will be the first collegians in the Lehigh Valley to enjoy a convenient place to grab morning, noon, midday, or late-night meal options without a checkout line.

Lafayette College President Nicole Hurd joined Rich Liebscher, chief information officer of Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, the parent company of Parkhurst Dining, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning celebrating the opening of Simon’s Market. It’s the first location among any Lehigh Valley college or university to offer Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

The high-tech shopping experience is powered by Transact Campus’ Transact Mobile Ordering, which allows customers to use the mobile app or a credit card to enter the store and pay for their items, ensuring a convenient and seamless shopping experience without having to wait in line. 

Stocked with a variety of fresh and prepared items, including produce from LaFarm and food from local vendors, Simon’s Market will be open 24/7, with the exception of a brief closing 2-6 a.m. Mondays, and ready for the start of classes on Aug. 28. The market is also open to faculty and staff by using the Transact app or a credit card.

“We’re excited to make this available to our students to start the school year,” said Hurd, adding that the opening of Simon’s Market is another example of the power and possibilities of “and” at Lafayette by offering both healthy choices and convenience.

She noted that the project is an excellent example of the College collaborating with multiple partners in the name of enhancing the Lafayette student experienceParkhurst Dining, Lafayette’s new dining provider, Transact Mobile Ordering, and Amazon Just Walk Out.

Hurd thanked Audra Kahr, executive vice president for finance and administration, Geoff Labe, assistant vice president for business services, and the Parkhurst team for leading the renovations at Simon’s Market, formerly a sandwich shop, and bringing this technology to Lafayette. 

The use of Amazon’s technology is a differentiator at Lafayette, and “I celebrate along with President Hurd that this is the first school in the Lehigh Valley to make this technology available to the campus community,” Liebscher said, crediting the partnership that made Simon’s Market a reality. 

“With so many dining options on campus, we know convenience is a major factor for students as they decide on their next meal,” he said. “We want to provide them with every option to purchase the food they need, when they need it.”

As part of its new partnership with Lafayette, Parkhurst designed and renovated the Simon’s Market space to accommodate the checkout-free technology. Simon’s Market is on the ground floor of Kamine Hall, conveniently situated near other student residence halls. 

Greeted by a coffee station at the market’s entrance, customers can peruse shelves and refrigerated units filled with fresh food, prepackaged meals, snacks, and other goods, such as laundry detergent, along with meal-equivalency options for students to use with their meal plan. Students can use Pard Dollars, a prepaid declining cash balance account, a meal swipe, or a credit card. 

Customers enter the store, use the mobile app or swipe their cards at the entry gates, select their desired items, and leave without going through a checkout line or self-serve kiosk. Amazon’s technology detects what shoppers take from or return to the shelves using sensor fusion, computer vision, and deep learning. 

As the ribbon-cutting ceremony concluded, Hurd took advantage of the technology and grabbed a cup of yogurt before heading back to the office.

Local media outlets covered the ribbon-cutting ceremony:


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