The City College Bookstore is re-envisioning its entire approach for the sake of student comforts, basic necessities and beyond.
“We’re trying to make this a community store—City College is our community,” said Bookstore Services Director, Paul Miller. “It’s bringing us all into this century. Eventually— our bookstore will become a hub for whatever‘s needed. We want people to want to come here, not have to.”
The Bookstore hopes to upgrade, providing a campus location to copy, scan and fax; this would deliver a “Kinko’s type” of set-up. The re-envisioned store will provide as many academic resources necessary.
The store is one of the few remaining, non-outsourced, bookstores in operation at California Community Colleges. It’s financed on its own enterprise fund that allows a self-supporting structure.
“City College’s Bookstore operates autonomously without impacting the adopted budget— they actually contribute right back to the college,” explains Joe Sullivan, vice president of Business Services.
The bookstore was short $563,592 of the projected total revenues from 2012 to 2013. Branching away from selling traditional school necessities is a step to bring more business to the college. Any construction to the store requires funds that are currently non-existent.
“Hopefully Measure S will make it so we have enough for modernization projects,” said Sullivan.
They’re moving from a narrow scoped set-up to a wide selection of numerous supplies.
“We’re moving toward broadening just about everything,” said Miller.
The bookstore is finding products for City College’s demographic by going over and above just selling typical school supplies.
The college’s departments order office supplies through the Bookstore. The catch to this convenience is the 28 to 48 hour waits for returns on orders.
The plan is to make the adjustment in their business approach so that the Bookstore will already have all of the products on its shelves to dodge the allotted shipping time.
Miller goes through four different office supply vendors to ensure they get the lowest prices available. All orders through City College receive a 30 percent discount. Miller explains that all of the savings he finds are in-turn, passed onto students.
Competition against major book retailers may make it difficult to digest, but the Bookstore works to only sell books at the lowest cost the college can provide. Miller mentioned that in some instances, books are sold at the same price that the bookstore paid, just to ensure that students had all of their required books available.
Apparel sales have steadily increased, so they’ve tripled the City College apparel selection.
“Football came and more SBCC hats were sold than ever,” Miller claimed.
Another one of Millers new ideas is to randomly award prizes to students that are seen wearing City College apparel that particular day.
“Nobody requires a uniform besides culinary arts, but a lot of people are happy to wear the apparel from City College that shows what they do on our campus.”
For the benefit of tight scheduled students, rush hour wait line times are monitored to help find ways to give students a better experience.
“We offer speed, product variety and having the least expensive products we can get to pass the savings on to the students,” Miller said.
A new mobile phone charging station was installed. A soup of electronic cords and accessories are sold to make sure the City College community stays connected.
During rush hour, the television sets mounted throughout the store show essential information relating to City College.
Miller wants students to enjoy the space so they’ll relax and hang out. He plays surfing, sports and other programs students are interested in on the television sets to reduce stress and bring some joy to the atmosphere.
In the near future, Miller will make the eccentric move towards taking the bookstore and plastering it with student art that will be available occasionally for silent auction.
Clothing and other student-life accessories are sold on campus, eliminating unplanned trips in the scenario that a student, for instance, is in need of a new pair of board shorts for swim class or something as simple as a toothbrush.
“It is the only store like it on campus, so it’s good to have more than only things for school, but personal life supplies,” said Bookstore employee, Victoria Goncalves, 21, costume design.
Follow The Channels on Twitter @thechannels or email us at [email protected]