St. Joe’s switches to Barnes and Noble College
Barnes and Noble College is the bookstore operator for over 780 colleges and universities nationwide, and as of July 13, 2017, Saint Joseph’s University is included in that count.
The new bookstore includes new merchandise, new managers, new organization methods and price matching for textbooks.
“Barnes and Noble College is extremely excited to be at this university,” said Sarah Szymendera, assistant store manager. “We are here to try and help the students in any way possible. We try and make it as affordable for the students as possible, just because we know that money is the number one priority and saving that money for you guys is the number one priority.”
Szymendera thinks that the St. Joe’s bookstore is beautiful and loves the pride that the university emits.
“The environment here with the alumni pride and even the school and student pride here is incredible,” Szymendera said. “The school I’m coming from was a lot smaller of a university and you didn’t really see that as much, so it’s really nice to see how into the campus and stuff all the students are here.”
The decision to switch stores was made by a committee of students, faculty and staff and the decision was made on May 8, 2017.
“The decision to award the contract to B&N was based on several factors that the committee highlighted including: a more intuitive on-line book ordering system that can be used by our faculty and students, increased emphasis on sustainability by purchasing locally from suppliers, greater opportunities for student employment and a structured booksellers program, physical improvements to the store itself that will be completed during this academic year,” said Timothy Mcguriman, associate vice president of Administrative Services, in an email correspondence.
The process of switching bookstores started in the fall 2016. “The process began with the university issuing an RFP [Request for Proposal ] in the fall 2016 and included a mandatory bid meeting, review of written proposals, oral presentations and reference checks with other universities. This process concluded with the May 8, 2017 decision,” McGuriman said.
The transition period for switching bookstores began only a few weeks before\ classes started back, which is why so many students are having trouble with backorders.
“We generally don’t work in such a short transition period,” Szymendera said. “We are trying to make sure everything is here as quickly as possible for the students because we do understand that they need those for their course. We were only in here five to six weeks before we started and, as far as getting in bulk amount of books, it is a quick cut for the publishers and that is where some of those issues did come in.”
Kiera Slater ’20, worked at the bookstore last year and is working there again this year. She says that she loves the new store.
“I mean, from an outside perspective, I can see why people can be frustrated with it [backorders] but now that I am on the inside of it, I see that it is hard,” Slater said. “With so many classes needing the same exact book, it is kind of hard to estimate how many we are going to need.”
Despite the difficult transitions, Szymendera is excited to have this store on campus and to help students in any way they need.
“All four of our managers are working to see what we can do for you as students because at the end of the day it doesn’t come down to us as a business, it comes down to how we are representing the school and helping them put up a great front for their brand,” Szymendera said. “How we can service the students, that is our number one thing is the affordability and servicing the students in the best way possible.”