The space we know today as The Den has not always served Chick-fil-A and Papa John’s or had its current loft-like feel conducive to studying and relaxing. Over the years, this student space has changed in a variety of ways, from its name and size to food choices and atmosphere.
Recent renovations have transformed the former Snack Shop and Campus store into the space we now know as The Den, but this change was far from the area’s first renovation.
According to Jeff Hagans, a past Snack Shop director, the Snack Shop used to be the most popular place to be on campus in the early 2000s when most dating was done on campus. To help with space issues, the University introduced Fast Break, which was located in the Davis Field house, as another option for dating couples or any students who wanted a quick snack.
In contrast with the POD inside The Den today, Hagans said the past Snack Shop was much more like a convenience store, carrying 350 varieties of beverages and over 100 kinds of candy bars. It was much bigger than today’s POD, and was quite popular for its many sodas and other drinks, Hagans said. In the area the POD currently occupies, a store wittily named Great Awakenings used to sell Starbucks coffee.
Past food services offered in the Snack Shop include a bakery, sub station and an ice cream shop. A steak room and coffee shop for date nights occupied the back of the Snack Shop, where offices are now located. The annual usher banquet used to be held in the Deauville and Roundup Rooms that were also in the back of the Snack Shop.
But even before the Snack Shop, The Den was something else. Years ago, this space was decorated with black and yellow plaid wallpaper and was named Little Moby’s, after a nickname given to Bob Jones Jr. Additionally, Little Moby’s Post had been the name of the alumni newsletter from Bob Jones College in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Little Moby’s was much smaller than The Den or Snack Shop and sat in a row of student stores, which included a barbershop, bookstore and post office.
Burgers were among the most popular and most expensive items in Little Moby’s. Inside the store, the entire front section consisted of one long soda fountain that served malts, shakes and sodas. Other popular food items were curly fries and subs, particularly the honey mustard chicken sub. Roy Hulehan, BJU’s head of retail, said people still ask for this sub when visiting the University.
In spite of all these changes over the years, one thing has remained the same about the space occupied by The Den. This particular spot on campus is still used as a place for students to fellowship with friends, grab a quick bite, find a much-needed caffeine fix, or study in some place other than their rooms or the library.
Hulehan, who continuously looks for ways to improve The Den, said, “I want the school to be known in the industry for good food service, but when it comes to faith-based schools, I want (BJU) to be number one.”