Berry bookstore to become a student enterprise

Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier news editor

The Berry bookstore is set to become a student enterprise this summer as part of the LifeWorks renewal process. Under the new plans, the bookstore’s current provider Folett will not have its contract renewed, the book store portion of the store will be handled by an online platform called eCampus and the merchandise side will be covered by the enterprise system. 

“It can be an incredible business learning lab, beyond even what the other enterprises are doing at this point,” Chief of Staff Debbie Heida said. 

In an email sent to students, Heida shared with the Berry community that eCampus was selected after deliberation with administration and some students on campus including professor of economics Frank Stephenson, assistant vice president of financial services Brad Reeder, assistant director of enterprise systems Zach Sherwin, director of the Center for Student Entrepreneruship and Enterprise Development Kevin Renshler, Dean of the Campbell School of Busniess Joyce Heames, Dean of the school of mathematics and science Gary Breton, junior David Lindsey and senior Anna Katherine Drew. 

At SGA on Feb. 11, Heida stated that the current bookstore management would transfer over into the hands of the enterprise system. She did not state, however, what would happen to current staff as the transition occurred, or the specifics on where and how new products would be handled in the store. 

Renshler will oversee the change in the bookstore. Currently, they are working on hiring a retail manager that will work with the students in running the new enterprise. Renshler believes that the new bookstore will provide a better opportunity not only for the enterprises but for other entrepreneurs as well. 

“It’s an opportunity to showcase what the enterprises are doing and what future entrepreneurs are doing, but that’s down the road in the next phase,” Renshler said. 

According to Heida, due to changes in how students buy books, the portion of the bookstore that sells books will be completely online. Students will be able to login to their VikingWeb accounts and purchase books directly from their VikingWeb through the online store, assuring that they have the right book. ECampus is the online platform that provides students with a platform to buy books, and then the books will be delivered to the bookstore for pick up. 

The layout and overall design of the bookstore will not change, Renshler explained. He stated that the change will happen in who is running it. 

“I don’t think there will be a lot of [structural] changes,” Renshler said. “It’s not necessarily a renovation but more of a rearranging.” 

The desire for the change came from two realizations that Heida stated the college saw this year. First, more and more students are buying textbooks online. The need for a physical bookstore no longer exists. Second, the enterprises have seen success with having a storefront in the bookstore, and Heida believes that due to this success, converting the bookstore into an entire enterprise will benefit the enterprise system as well as the students gaining experience through the enterprise program. 

As of right now, the bookstore does not have a name. Both Renshler and Heida have explained that they will be working with students to create a new name for the space. 

“The students here at Berry will name what the new enterprise will be called, and we will go from there,” Renshler said. 

The enterprises will take control of the bookstore after graduation, starting May 15. Renshler stated that the enterprises will be working hard to reorganize the store before SOAR begins and will implement the new pick-up window for books later this summer. The full change in the bookstore will be complete before the 2020-2021 school year begins.

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