When you walk into Blue Front at 701 Packard St., between the freezers of beer and the shelves of wine is the friendly face and warm smile of Sunny Bhagat, the convenience store’s owner.
Sunny, who has been in business in Ann Arbor for almost three years, provides “thirsty” University students with their supplies of beer and wine.
Budweiser is the most popular beer he sells, “but girls like the light (beer),” Bhagat said.
For students in the market for wine, Bhagat said Franzia is his top-seller.
While Sunny’s disposition is literally as nice as his name denotes, don’t think a McLovin-style fake ID can fool him. He said he can tell when an underage student is lying when they “try to hide their eyes” and “look down.”
“If they are talking too much, it means they are a minor,” he said.
Bhagat said he mostly turns down underage students at the start of the semester, when they come into his store naïve and hoping to get lucky.
By the time the semester is in full swing, though, Bhagat said that he knows 95 percent of his customers on a “face-to-face” basis.
When Sunny forces a student to do the walk of shame out of his store empty handed, he does it tastefully, with a mere, “I’m sorry,” he said.
“I like the students of Michigan,” Bhagat said.
In the past three years he has been in Ann Arbor, he said he has “never had a problem.”
“All (students) are friendly, all are smiley, there is no fighting, no arguing, nothing,” he said.
Not only does Bhagat enjoy having students as his customers, but he said he also loves being a part of Ann Arbor.
The best part about Ann Arbor, Bhagat said, is that he doesn’t have to worry about crime.
“This is a nice town,” he said.
On football Saturdays, once all his pre-game customers have purchased their kegs, cups and ping-pong balls, Bhagat said he walks to the stadium among the students he loves.
“Football time,” he said, is his favorite thing about working on a college campus.
Bhagat, who came from India in 1995, lives in Canton, Mich. He has two sons and a daughter.