University News | July 26, 2018
The grand opening of Hokkaido-based convenience store chain Seicomart’s Hokkaido University location was held on July 24th. The new store is a collaborative project between Hokkaido University and Secoma Co., Ltd. as part of their agreement signed earlier this year to enhance cooperation in the areas of food, safety, and product analysis and development. Both parties expect that these collaborations will contribute to regional communities and economies by blending the academic knowledge and technical skills of Hokkaido University researchers with Seicomart’s supply chain capabilities.
Designed by architectural firm Tsuchiya Co., Ltd. the impressive two-story building is a far cry from the typical convenient store image. The first floor is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass walls, providing natural light to the spacious retail
area and university information corner within. The familiar Seciomart logo hangs prominently in the center of the store, carved from elm wood obtained from felled trees on the university’s campus during the strong 2004 typhoon that struck Hokkaido. The second floor features a free space with open seating for seminars, events, studying, or eating, and a large outdoor canopied terrace where customers can relax while enjoying the natural beauty of the university campus.
As a trial space for academic and industrial collaborations, Hokkaido University researchers and the corporations have already been able to implement and test some of their recently developed products in the store. For example, the store is currently testing a fuel cell system designed to reduce energy consumption in cold regions, as well as an AI-incorporated road heating system developed by Hokkaido University–Hokkaido Gas collaborations. The store also features a high-protein ice cream developed by Hokkaido University and Secoma.
The first major event to be held at the store will be the Midori-no-Jingisukan Wine Garden and Beer Festival, open to university staff, students, and the public from August 6th to 10th.
Written by Tyler Tannert