Students have been raving about the Starbucks lattes and the delicious items offered in the new café. They’re thrilled at the expanded trade book selection and bargain-book section. And they’re happy about the extra seating to enjoy it all. But what students at Faulkner State Community College (FSCC) may like best about the school’s new bookstore is the savings: Students saved more than $138,000 on their textbook purchases in the spring semester alone.
“We’re really excited to offer Faulkner State students an array of cost-saving textbook options,” explained Barnes & Noble College Regional Manager Teresa Cury. “Students can now buy or rent new or used textbooks or choose digital if that fits their learning style and budget — and they can place their orders online and have it delivered to their home or shipped for free to any of our three campuses for easy pick up. Students have been very excited about this.”
Barnes & Noble College took over management of the bookstore, located in the new LEED-Silver Certified Memorial Hall on the Bay Minette campus in Alabama, in December 2013. When students returned for their spring semester, they found an expanded selection of school spirit items, clothing and gifts. “We also introduced our laptop program, where students can purchase their laptops and other technology products through the bookstore,” added Cury.
With programs as focused as dental assisting and surgical technology to culinary arts and veterinary technology, Faulkner State needed a bookstore that could fulfill a wide range of needs and services. “We have some unique items that you wouldn’t typically find in a college bookstore,” said Store Manager Patricia Kelly. “Because of the variety of programs offered at Faulkner State, we carry such items as culinary uniforms; including hats and aprons, as well as knife sets and the like.”
Some of those programs also have very specific needs and require a more custom approach for course materials. “We have nursing bags that are custom-made to the college’s specifications as well as two separate kits. Because of our local empowerment, we can offer those types of custom items that are important to our programs and for students’ success.”
On August 12, a VIP Shopping event brought in students, faculty and administrators — as well as members of the community — for a grand reopening celebration. The North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce was on hand to celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, highlighting the bookstore as a place to connect the college and the local community. “The school has designated special parking spaces just for the store, so people from the community can come in and grab a cup of coffee, browse the store and sit and read,” Cury explained. “We really wanted to make this a great store for the students and faculty of Faulkner State, but we also wanted this to be a place where the local community would want to come, too.”
The following day, when freshmen orientation began (a day deemed “The Big Bash” in Faulkner State lingo), the bookstore welcomed new students with samples from the new full-service cafe and plenty of extra staff on hand to answer questions on subjects ranging from tech setup to financial aid, textbooks to Frappacinos. “We couldn’t be happier with our opening or the reception we’ve received so far,” said Kelly. “The store has gotten off to a great start, but more importantly, we feel we helped a new class of students get off to a great start, too.”