Mary Grace von Thorn, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
The Berry College Shipyard is a new student enterprise that supplies Berry apparel accessories and books, and provides opportunities for students with small businesses to display their products.
In years past, the Berry bookstore had been operated by Follet, a third-party provider, whose contract was set to expire during the 2019-2020 academic year.
“The Berry community had an opportunity for the campus as a whole to reflect to see what direction they wanted to go,” Kevin Renshler, director of student enterprises and entrepreneurship development said.
Switching the bookstore over into the hands of the student enterprises allowed the students to gain more opportunities on campus and to create a functional space for students.
“The LifeWorks program and student enterprises are a part of our identity and culture,” Renshler said. “And so it was an opportunity to say ‘If we’re really going to do this well, why don’t we have students run this campus store?’ And so Shipyard has become the latest student enterprise here at Berry College.”
The ultimate goal of the Shipyard is to frequently provide new items for students instead of buying one product in bulk to sell over a long period of time.
“Having more turnover in items to choose from at a more affordable price and keeping items for a shorter amount of time allows us to bring new, exciting apparel and gifts,” Campus retail manager of the Shipyard, Sydney Weaver, said.
Renshler also said the Shipyard is a retail operation that adds value to the Berry community as well as providing a point of pride for Berry students.
“It’s always going to be changing,” Renshler said. We’re constantly getting new things based off the demands of the Berry community that includes prospective students, current students, alumni, family and friends, people across the country. So we wanted to make sure that there was something for everyone at the Shipyard.”
Unlike the Berry bookstore, the Shipyard does not provide students with textbooks. Textbooks can now be purchased through an online portal called eCampus. Students can purchase textbooks by going into the eCampus portal, typing in what classes they are enrolled in, viewing their textbook options and then selecting the best option for them. The books are sent directly to the Shipyard where they are placed in the book window located at the back of the store for students to come pick them up.
One section unique to the Shipyard showcases manuscripts and textbooks written by Berry faculty and staff. This section also contains the biographies of each faculty and staff author.
Another section of the store called Berry Farms is dedicated to five of the fifteen student run enterprises on campus: Angus Beef, Jersey Milk, Season’s Harvest, Berry Bees and Blue Hen Eggs.
“We basically created a barn that we have a freezer and refrigerator in those sections so that they can sell produce,” Renshler said.
Due to the many restrictions and guidelines put in place because of COVID- 19, the Berry Shipyard continues to be a work in progress.
“That’s due to logistics and delivery schedules, it takes a while for things to come in,” Renshler said. “We’re waiting for 18 wall panels, two gondolas, two t-shirt racks and a large display table”
The Shipyard is also a learning opportunity for students working there, many of them who are business majors.
“They’re getting the opportunity to learn how businesses run, especially with inventory and choosing products” Weaver said.
The name Shipyard came about after ballots were sent out to members of the student population to suggest a name for the new store. After the name Shipyard was chosen, decisions were made regarding the look and feel of the store based on the name.
While the exact number of how many students are buying their books from eCampus versus other textbook providers such as Chegg or Amazon is currently unknown, the Shipyard receives over 200 boxes of books nearly every day from eCampus, many of which have multiple books in them.
The Shipyard is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.