UConn Co-op Book Store Could Be Replaced By National Corporation

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Drew

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http://www.courant.com/education/hc-uconn-coop-bookstore-1208-20151207-story.html

"For over 40 years, the UConn Co-op has been kind of an icon on campus, perhaps not unlike the UConn Dairy Bar.

But this week, the university announced that it is putting the operation of its bookstore out to bid with the goal of selecting a bookstore operator based on a competitive process.

The leaders of the Co-op, an independent member-owned non-profit cooperative, say they are disappointed that the university has taken this step and plan to submit their own proposal.

"We are very positive about what our response will be," said Bill Simpson who is the president and chief operating officer of the Co-op. "We feel confident that the team drawn together to review the proposals will see the merit of our argument."
 
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In my view ... this implies an ongoing structural problem that the University has with that UConn Co-op. I am around a lot of campuses; there is no large move to take over the bookstores. It is not the heyday of retail square footage.
 
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"In addition, he said, the Co-op is able to sell Husky gear at a lower price because they "self-license" to create the merchandise."

Hmmmm - this makes me wonder if there is an implication here in the comparatively low amount of UConn gear available, vs peers. Are other potential licensees shut out to aid the coop?
 

Drew

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"In addition, he said, the Co-op is able to sell Husky gear at a lower price because they "self-license" to create the merchandise."

Hmmmm - this makes me wonder if there is an implication here in the comparatively low amount of UConn gear available, vs peers. Are other potential licensees shut out to aid the coop?

The idea that the items in the coop are "low price" is asinine. Stuff that sells in the UConn coop for $75 sells at other book stores for $40
 
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"In addition, he said, the Co-op is able to sell Husky gear at a lower price because they "self-license" to create the merchandise."

Hmmmm - this makes me wonder if there is an implication here in the comparatively low amount of UConn gear available, vs peers. Are other potential licensees shut out to aid the coop?
The stuff isn't low priced, so I'd lean towards "yes", and the pricing being a result of a University-granted competitive advantage.
 
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I would be interested in what the former proprietors of HuskyWear would have to say about this - this seems somewhat anti-competitive, though it's possible others could "self-license" as well, although i would question the AD and the Co-op being a little too close for comfort.
 

Joobie

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Hey Yarders....

This is a subject near & dear to my heart. I have been working at the CO-OP since 1989. I would ask you to please support YOUR university bookstore as we fight against corporate take-over. There will be a rally on Monday 10-12 in front of the purchasing building. If any of you can come, it would be greatly appreciated! We would like to send a strong message to the administration. Thanks for your support!
https://www.change.org/p/dannel-malloy-alan-calandro-eliza-conrad-patti-fazio-michael-george-robert-hasenfratz-michael-kirk-kyle-muncy-sally-reis-susan-herbst-martha-bedard-save-the-uconn-co-op?recruiter=478103846&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
 
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Joobie

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Hey Yarders....

This is a subject near & dear to my heart. I have been working at the CO-OP since 1989. I would ask you to please support YOUR university bookstore as we fight against corporate take-over. There will be a rally on Monday 10-12 in front of the purchasing building. If any of you can come, it would be greatly appreciated! We would like to send a strong message to the administration. Thanks for your support!
https://www.change.org/p/dannel-mal...source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
 
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Hey Yarders....

This is a subject near & dear to my heart. I have been working at the CO-OP since 1989. I would ask you to please support YOUR university bookstore as we fight against corporate take-over. There will be a rally on Monday 10-12 in front of the purchasing building. If any of you can come, it would be greatly appreciated! We would like to send a strong message to the administration. Thanks for your support!
https://www.change.org/p/dannel-mal...source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
I'd come if I were there. Big ripoff coming if that goes down.
 
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what are the advantages for the University of the move? I've seen this other places, but still don't understand what prompted the change.
 
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When are you going to get some '99 championship Ts? Mine is threadbare.
 

David 76

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Can't be there on a Monday morning but I will be with you in spirit. Is there an internet petioion you could share?
 

gtcam

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I love any college bookstore.
However, to be honest, the UConn Co-op has been disappointing in styles and availability in the athletic logo merchandise
I find it puzzling that most of the stuff I buy and like the best come on line and not available at the Co-Op
I visit the shop at least 10 times a year so I'm not just a once a year hit or miss
If a takeover can guarantee an improved variety and stock while being competitively priced AND without losing any jobs - what is the downside?
I'm all ears on this one
 
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Absent of any factual support, change.org's linked save the Co-op site appears to lean a bit on unsubstantiated scare tactics. Perhaps Co-op staff members concerned about their current employment status and other Co-op supporters may benefit by highlighting unidentified strengths or advantages of the current structure.

What are the Co-op's strengths or advantages? With Storrs Center's retail space, what might be the benefits of both a non-profit co-op and a private bookstore versus the Co-op's main Hillside Road store and its' smaller Storrs Center branch? After viewing change.org's site, just tossing things out ...
 

Joobie

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Absent of any factual support, change.org's linked save the Co-op site appears to lean a bit on unsubstantiated scare tactics. Perhaps Co-op staff members concerned about their current employment status and other Co-op supporters may benefit by highlighting unidentified strengths or advantages of the current structure.

What are the Co-op's strengths or advantages? With Storrs Center's retail space, what might be the benefits of both a non-profit co-op and a private bookstore versus the Co-op's main Hillside Road store and its' smaller Storrs Center branch? After viewing change.org's site, just tossing things out ...
I think that the petition is pretty clear regarding the CO-OP's strengths when it lists all the things that won't happen if & when the Co-op becomes a corporate entity. Let me just add that we keep the costs of licensed merchandise down because we do a lot of it in-house. See below:

If a private retailer takes over the Co-op, you can expect the following changes:

  • Loss of the textbook price comparison software
  • Textbooks won't be available all year long (most likely, on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Textbook buyback payouts will decrease
  • A cutback in student jobs
  • Layoffs of the current Co-op full-time staff
  • Decrease of student support services (such as tech repair, shipping services, Apple computer support, orientation packages, graduation ticket sales, bus ticket sales, and, much, much more)
  • Less support of student organizations
  • Loss of the student voice in the governance of the bookstore
  • No more Secret Sales
  • Less student supplies available (such as school supplies, art materials, and housing essentials)
 

Drew

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I think that the petition is pretty clear regarding the CO-OP's strengths when it lists all the things that won't happen if & when the Co-op becomes a corporate entity. Let me just add that we keep the costs of licensed merchandise down because we do a lot of it in-house. See below:

If a private retailer takes over the Co-op, you can expect the following changes:

  • Loss of the textbook price comparison software
  • Textbooks won't be available all year long (most likely, on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Textbook buyback payouts will decrease
  • A cutback in student jobs
  • Layoffs of the current Co-op full-time staff
  • Decrease of student support services (such as tech repair, shipping services, Apple computer support, orientation packages, graduation ticket sales, bus ticket sales, and, much, much more)
  • Less support of student organizations
  • Loss of the student voice in the governance of the bookstore
  • No more Secret Sales
  • Less student supplies available (such as school supplies, art materials, and housing essentials)

As someone who just graduated last year I feel I can speak from a student's point of view on this.

Nobody needs textbooks to be available all year long. Not everyone even buys the textbooks for their classes and more and more people every year are starting to rent textbooks from Amazon for $25 that would cost them $250 to buy in the Co-Op

The selection of clothing in the Co-Op currently is ridiculously priced compared to any other book store I've ever visited. And I mean ridiculous. What student has $95 to spend on a football/basketball jersey? Even simple items like polo shirts are way over priced at $60+.

Secret sales do nothing for me but I cannot speak for the student body on this one.

School supplies realistically are something you could get anywhere (ie CVS, Co-Op, Wal-Mart, etc).

The Co-Op does have quality parts to it such as the restaurant in the front but even the "convenience store" in the back has ridiculous prices. Things like deodorant and toothpaste are $2 or $3 overpriced. Co-Op needs to be either overhauled or sold and to me it doesn't matter which one.
 
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Simply cutting and pasting the linked Change.org site's unsubstantiated scare tactics hardly articulates advantages of the Co-op's current structure. Surely, some positives must exist and documented facts may support such perspectives. Just tossing out the world may end, not so much ...

Absent of scare tactics, specifically what are the positives? For each portrayed positive, where is the definitive factual supporting information? What prevents Co-op supporters from 1) clearly articulating benefits of keeping the current Co-op organization and 2) directly providing factual support for # 1?

Additional focus on # 1 and # 2 may create new support, convert neutral views, and enhance existing support. On the other hand, an absence of reasonable supporting facts may do the opposite.
 
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polycom

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The Co-op needs to go because how overpriced it is. However the cafe needs to stay because of how good the food their is. I attended UConn didn't buy a single book from the Co-op. Sorry, OP if you have to lose your job.
 

Joobie

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The Co-op is a student run bookstore. Therefore, students have a say in policies.That won't happen if a lease operator comes in. Textbook buyers search for lower priced books whenever & wherever they're available. That won't happen if a lease operator comes in. There are a lot of services provided by the Co-op that don't make money; shipping services, bus tickets, events both on & off campus. That won't happen if a lease operator comes in. As for the price of textbooks, bookstores have no control over that. Publishers have now gone to loose leaf formats on many of their books. That has knocked the legs out from under the used book markets. The Co-op orders in only books that professors have requested for their classes, some of which are astronomically priced. Some professors are very conscientious about the cost of textbooks for their students. Unfortunately, some are not. I honestly don't know very much about the clothing, but it stands to reason, that you will pay more for the Nike or Champion brands & please keep in mind, that the athletics department also gets a cut of all licensed merchandise. The Co-op does many designs in house to keep costs down for consumers (like when we do secret sales). In short, the Co-op provides many services that lose money. Lease operators answer to shareholders & will be interested in maximizing profits wherever possible. I think the UCONN community will suffer greatly as a result.
 

Joobie

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Wonder how the Feb 8 meeting went for the Co-op supporters; Joobie?
The rally didn't happen because the weather was so bad. I think a total of a dozen ppl showed up. I understand that the presentation went very well, but there was a concern that it fell upon deaf ears. The prevailing feeling is that the university has already made up it's mind. I am keeping my fingers crossed that isn't the case, but we will know soon. Thanks for asking.
 

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