Update: 3:16 p.m., July 11, 2019
The campus bookstore at Texas A&M-University San Antonio will be closed for nine days beginning June 22 before reopening on July 1 under new management.
The bookstore’s final day under Barnes & Noble management is June 21. The store, on the first floor of the Central Academic Building, will be open briefly from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 21.
Follett Corp., a national bookstore chain based out of Westchester, Illinois, will take over management of the bookstore. The school’s current contract with Barnes & Noble ends at the end of June, which prompted a temporary closure of the bookstore to prepare for the switch and make the switch as “painless as possible,” according to Daniel Garza, director of Procurement & Auxiliary Services at A&M-San Antonio.
“It’s sort of a turn-key solution. The decision is addressing the students and their academic needs, making sure they have everything from books to scantrons,” Garza said. “It was also important to make sure we address the deans’ needs for the professors. Our students are our main priority so it’s accessibility, availability and maintaining inventory. No. 1 is our students.”
According to Garza A&M-San Antonio has joined three other A&M schools in a search for new bookstore management. Those schools are Texas A&M International University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He said TAMIU “spearheaded” the proposal process.
“With that rep process they received three proposals from Barnes & Nobles, Follett and Texas Book Company,” Garza said. “An evaluation team for all four campuses scored each proposal, and Follett ranked the highest and was recommended for negotiations and contract.”
The reopening of the bookstore on July 1 will display new inventory and a new store design that Garza describes as “grand” and “like a mall.” The store website, which is being redesigned by Follett in conjunction with the A&M-San Antonio IT department, will also go up on that date. Services such as digital books and rentals are expected to return on the day of the reopening.
Despite these changes, Johnny Guevara, assistant director of Auxiliary Services, expects Follett to “stay near” the current bookstore setup. This includes comparable hours and prices as well as the retainment of all student and non-student employees.
Bookstore employee Jada Chavarria said she believes the switch will be good for everyone.
“I think it will be a better opportunity because they manage more on customer service,” Chavarria said. “So there will probably be a lot more things that we’re able to fulfill for students. Make things a little more vibrant than we were with Barnes & Noble.”
Business administration sophomore Jason Roberts said he is excited for the switch. He believes the change in style will “finally add some character to this floor.”
“Maybe this will make me come to the store more,” Roberts said. “Hopefully they’ll have better products. A little something for everyone.”