Wednesday, September 17, 2008

College bookstore contract up for bid, due by June

"I was a little bit surprised. It is business, and we understand that."

Joe Rivers, assistant manager of the College Bookstore, was shocked just as the rest of St. John Fisher College was two weeks ago when the announcement came out that Bon App├ętit will not be returning for another academic year.

The bookstore is now undergoing the bidding process.

Manager Dan Edes and Rivers presented their bid to the Bookstore Committee on April 10. Their two competitors are Follett Higher Education Group and Validis Resources. Follett, a company from Illinois, currently serves colleges such as LeMoyne College and St. Bonaventure University. Validis Resources, based in Nebraska, provides its services to Gannon University and Wellesley College.

In their presentation, Edes and Rivers showed their dedication to Fisher, showing "what we do to support Fisher and what we want to do to expand on that," Rivers said.

The expansion would include doing more to support the sports teams and linking the bookstore with Fisher's ID cards.

"It would be an optional thing where you could put money on the card and debit off that," Rivers said.

The Bookstore Committee, comprised of six Fisher faculty and one student, hopes to announce their decision by June. According to Tom O'Neil, vice president of Finance and Business, the committee is looking for a company that will provide excellent customer service and serve the campus community by providing a dynamic and exciting retail environment in the bookstore.

The company must also provide textbooks and course materials in the required quantity and in a timely, cost-efficient manner. They must also keep prices of textbooks and general merchandise minimized and maximize the availability of used textbooks by providing an effective textbook buy-back program.

Prior to their final decision, the committee hopes to visit sites currently run by Follett and Validis.

Barnes and Noble has worked with St. John Fisher since the early '80s, while Edes has been here since 2000 and Rivers since 2003. The bookstore also currently has about 17 student employees.

As published in the Cardinal Courier, St. John Fisher College, April 22, 2008.

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