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

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Joobie

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What the article fails to state is how greatly the decisions the university made negatively affected the Co-op. We owned our building on Fairfield Road outright. We were made to move to the current location on Hillside Road & were not compensated at all for our building. The Co-op paid to have the building fitted for use; all the University paid for was the shell. We are also responsible for upkeep, & utilities eventhough it is a "state"building. We were "persuaded" to open the Storrs Center bookstore where the rent is ridiculous. We also fitted the bookstore portion of that building. We have never asked the university for a "handout", but receiving compensation for the concessions that have been made, would not be unreasonable as the above article suggests.
 

David 76

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This and what happened to the Alumni, make me very concerned about Herbst.
 
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No doubt, sound reasoning absolutely supported continuing to accomodate and subsidize 2 woefully-operated and failed organizations.
 

Drew

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UConn Wrong To Consider Dumping Co-Op

""Just because everyone else jumps off a bridge," parents have been telling their children for generations, "doesn't mean you should jump off a bridge too." Similarly, just because many universities outsource their bookstores to homogenous, for-profit corporate chains, with local managers answering to headquarters in distant cities, does not mean that UConn should follow suit. But the administration is currently considering proposals to operate the bookstore from big chains, as well as the Co-op managing it now.

Like the UConn Dairy Bar, the Co-op is an integral part of the UConn brand and a vital, contributing member of the university's unique culture. No one responds to "B&N," or "Amazon" with "Go Huskies!" Many in the UConn family consider the Co-op a treasure. I believe that UConn should keep the independent UConn Co-op. Here's why."

http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-staubach-keep-uconn-coop-0220-20160218-story.html
 

David 76

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No doubt, sound reasoning absolutely supported continuing to accomodate and subsidize 2 woefully-operated and failed organizations.
It is easy to pick on the Co-op. I guess the proof will come in how much better the replacement is or isn't. Right now student tuitions are less subsidized than ever, then the alumni association loses it's independence, then the bookstore.
What is not less subsidized is Administrative Salaries. And they are impressive! I worry that we end up with buildings and an administration that no one can afford.
We have turned from a blue- collar school (where children of blue-collar workers could afford to school) to a cheaper alternative for upper-middle class kids whose parents are looking for a bargain compared to a $250,000-plus private school.
I hope I'm wrong about the Co-op. I think Herbst wants to, and has the ability to, improve the ranking of UConn. But, I have not heard her speak to keeping the college affordable for working families and I worry that the former is her priority.
What is it? 35% increase in the next few years?. We are a very expensive state U and it is getting worse.
The Co-op might make sense but I'm seeing a trend that centralizes power and seems to be losing sight of UConn's mission
 

Joobie

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David, thank you. Just to clarify, the CO-OP is run by & for students. We have no shareholders to report to & the total focus is on the UCONN community & is a non-profit bookstore. The lease operators the university is considering to take over bookstore services will give the university a lump sum to come in & then a percentage of sales. Their focus will be on maximizing profits & no one seems to be connecting the dots on where those profits will come from: the already financially overburdened UCONN student & their family~!
 

ElGuapo

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Remember when your Coop member number was your social security number?
Sweet Jebus how many times did I say that aloud to strangers across and withing ear shot of me.
1993 - 1997'd.

I don't have any fondness in my heart for the Coop from my student daze 20 years ago or when I sometimes visit now.
It was always a ripoff then, and seems like it still is now.
The internet and mass availability of "things" has leveled the playing field.
Why anyone should have to be forced to pay more because of tradition is beyond me.

Sorry that you might lose your job Joobie.
I'm sure that it i a fun place to work.
 

Joobie

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Thanks, El. My fear is that if a lease operator comes in, things will get much MORE expensive for UCONN students.
 

CL82

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Thanks, El. My fear is that if a lease operator comes in, things will get much MORE expensive for UCONN students.
Joobie, isn't equally possible/likely that economies of scale would allow prices to drop?

Regardless, I hope that it works out okay for you.
 

Drew

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This isn't related to books but it is related to merchandise

I was at the University of Nebraska this past weekend and stopped by the bookstore to look at gear. Football and basketball jersey's were $55. And these were nice jerseys, not the cheaply made ones. This included the black alternate they wore last year as well as the home and away for football, and then both a red and white uniform for basketball. Polo's were $40 and all sweatshirts were in the $35-50 range.

Compare that to the prices of the UConn Co-Op and it's not even close. Football and basketball jerseys I believe last year were either $85 or $95. What student can afford that? Those prices are absurd. Then you get into pullovers being $50-$75. Just insane. Even tshirts at the UConn Co-Op are $20. Just isn't reasonable for students. I would've loved to have bought a hell of a lot more gear than I wound up buying, but the prices at the UConn Co-Op were insanely inflated.
 

Joobie

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Drew, we do our very best to keep prices down, but we are buying JUST for the CO-OP & not hundreds of stores across the country. We do many of our own designs to keep licensing fees low. I know we have sweatshirts priced less than $35. The brand names though ARE ridiculously priced.
 

David 76

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Again, my concern is the overall mission, or what should be the mission of our state university. I wish I was more confident this move was to lower prices for students and not to create another revenue stream for bells and whistles.
Joobie, are there regulations on textbook pricing?
 

Joobie

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Again, my concern is the overall mission, or what should be the mission of our state university. I wish I was more confident this move was to lower prices for students and not to create another revenue stream for bells and whistles.
Joobie, are there regulations on textbook pricing?
David, we are pretty much at the mercy of the publishers where textbook pricing is concerned. They have come out with something called "student value editions" of textbooks. These are looseleaf formatted books, which means that we cannot buy them back at the end of the semester. Their claim to fame is that students save money up front, but publishers have really hurt the used book market while guaranteeing that students are forced to buy new books every semester. Custom books are another way that publishers say they are saving students money. Professors work with a publisher to streamline a book to to suit the course. Sometimes it's an old edition of a book with a few chapters removed, but because it's custom & therefore, subject to change, we also do not buy them back. Some students are savvy enough to go ahead & just buy the original book, but most do not & consequently, are spending more than they should.

The "open source" books that the university is pushing are both good & bad. Students, in my experience, would much rather have a hard copy of a text. They hard copies are pretty cheap (we are using an open source book for a chemistry course this semester which is FREE online, but a printed copy costs only $55), but these companies are using grant money. Once their funding dries up, costs skyrocket.

Bottom line (IMO), professors need to be more conscientious when selecting the course materials they are requiring their students to purchase. They could put much of their material on HUSKY CT, or like many do, have us create a coursepack (we clear the copyright permissions & have the document center on campus print our copies). We only carry books that the professors have requested. Some of them are ridiculously priced (in excess of $300).
 
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Drew, we do our very best to keep prices down, but we are buying JUST for the CO-OP & not hundreds of stores across the country. We do many of our own designs to keep licensing fees low. I know we have sweatshirts priced less than $35. The brand names though ARE ridiculously priced.
...and this is actually HURTING UConn merchandise availability. The Co-op doesn't buy/sell nearly enough to warrant wider selection of anything.

I would be happy if nothing else changed but the sweetheart deal between the AD and the Co-op.
 

Joobie

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...and this is actually HURTING UConn merchandise availability. The Co-op doesn't buy/sell nearly enough to warrant wider selection of anything.

I would be happy if nothing else changed but the sweetheart deal between the AD and the Co-op.
That "sweeheart deal" is the one thing that will remain. Athletics is one of the departments on campus advocating for the Co-op to become corporate. They don't feel like they are getting enough licensing fees.
 
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That "sweeheart deal" is the one thing that will remain. Athletics is one of the departments on campus advocating for the Co-op to become corporate. They don't feel like they are getting enough licensing fees.
...and they're right. The lack of UConn merchandise, both globally and for sale other than in-person at the Co-op, is a big problem.

I would expect a corporate entity to do better here, frankly.
 

Joobie

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...and they're right. The lack of UConn merchandise, both globally and for sale other than in-person at the Co-op, is a big problem.

I would expect a corporate entity to do better here, frankly.
Corporate will certainly have more buying power, that's a fact. They won't do their own designs to keep costs down & they certainly won't offer fans 30% off on gameday. They will be promising a percentage of their profits to the university just to BE here & will be looking for a way to maximize those profits in any possible way.
 

storrsroars

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I don't worry about students being able to afford things. Kids will spend ridiculous amounts on the right "brands", whether shoes, tees, electronics, whatever. And there's always ways to make extra money.

Every now and then I have to accompany my wife to the Pitt campus bookstore. Blows the co-op away. You can get all sorts of crap from any era - royal blue and yellow, navy and gold, script Pitt or block PITT... and at competitive prices.

Sounds to me like management is missing the forest for the trees.
 
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I don't worry about students being able to afford things. Kids will spend ridiculous amounts on the right "brands", whether shoes, tees, electronics, whatever. And there's always ways to make extra money.

Every now and then I have to accompany my wife to the Pitt campus bookstore. Blows the co-op away. You can get all sorts of crap from any era - royal blue and yellow, navy and gold, script Pitt or block PITT... and at competitive prices.

Sounds to me like management is missing the forest for the trees.
Exactly. Our merchandising lacks behind peers. It's not even close, either. I'm not laying this at the feet of the Co-op, entirely, but they're definitely an accomplice here.

I would gladly take an expansion of our available merchandise, as well as better availability to non-Co-op customers, over an in-person discount that's limited to gamedays in a few locations. It's small time thinking, and the rest of the university has moved on from similar small-time thinking.
 

HuskyHawk

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Drew, we do our very best to keep prices down, but we are buying JUST for the CO-OP & not hundreds of stores across the country. We do many of our own designs to keep licensing fees low. I know we have sweatshirts priced less than $35. The brand names though ARE ridiculously priced.
You realize you just made the point for those who want to close it and go with a national company that does have economies of scale? I won't be just branded merchandise either. Those companies can get deodorant, toothpaste, chips, snickers bars etc. cheaper.

In my day 84-88, we relied on the co-op because frankly there was nothing else. I mean nothing. But times have certainly changed.
 

Joobie

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You realize you just made the point for those who want to close it and go with a national company that does have economies of scale? I won't be just branded merchandise either. Those companies can get deodorant, toothpaste, chips, snickers bars etc. cheaper.

In my day 84-88, we relied on the co-op because frankly there was nothing else. I mean nothing. But times have certainly changed.
We have a sales rep who works for Pearson Education, one of the biggest sellers of college textbooks in the country. He told us that a professor, teaching at a university who had a store run by B&N, called Pearson to complain that the book he was told would cost his students $104 was being sold in the bookstore for $130. The revenue they promise to the university in terms of a percentage of sales has to come from somewhere.
 
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We have a sales rep who works for Pearson Education, one of the biggest sellers of college textbooks in the country. He told us that a professor, teaching at a university who had a store run by B&N, called Pearson to complain that the book he was told would cost his students $104 was being sold in the bookstore for $130. The revenue they promise to the university in terms of a percentage of sales has to come from somewhere.
...but most of us aren't talking about books. It's a very different market than branded merchandise, or really anything else sold at the Co-op. I realize their reason for being there is books, but it's apples and oranges to the rest of the inventory.
 

HuskyHawk

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...but most of us aren't talking about books. It's a very different market than branded merchandise, or really anything else sold at the Co-op. I realize their reason for being there is books, but it's apples and oranges to the rest of the inventory.
Exactly. If it was just books the whole co-op would be open two weeks a semester. Besides, books are increasingly being read on tablets. Paper textbooks are a dinosaur anyway.

I don't spend much time in college book-stores, but I certainly recall that the KU and Jayhawk Bookstores in Lawrence both far exceeded what was available at the Co-op in Storrs and were less expensive in the early 90's than the Co-op was in the mid 80's. One of the differences are that the school operates 11 "KU Bookstore" locations and even there there are two independent "Jayhawk Bookstores" about as close to campus as Ted's is at UConn. So the competition is much greater.
 

Drew

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Exactly. If it was just books the whole co-op would be open two weeks a semester. Besides, books are increasingly being read on tablets. Paper textbooks are a dinosaur anyway.

I don't spend much time in college book-stores, but I certainly recall that the KU and Jayhawk Bookstores in Lawrence both far exceeded what was available at the Co-op in Storrs and were less expensive in the early 90's than the Co-op was in the mid 80's. One of the differences are that the school operates 11 "KU Bookstore" locations and even there there are two independent "Jayhawk Bookstores" about as close to campus as Ted's is at UConn. So the competition is much greater.

This x1000000. Every other major school has other apparel shops in the college town right outside of campus which helps keep the cost of the items within the bookstore itself reasonable (among other things). Storrs Center easily should have a "Husky Shop" where you can go get UConn gear- one that is independent and not affiliated with the Co-Op.

@Joobie I wish you and anyone else affected by this move no harm but this is long overdue. The Co-Op as is currently is just not getting it done for the students.
 

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