Those who have purchased textbooks from the USF bookstore may have noticed a distinct change this semester. The USF bookstore has moved to the University Center’s basement floor, adjacent to Crossroads Café, which underwent its own renovations over winter break.
The move was completed over two days in December, the week after classes let out. “I wished I would have taken a photo because it was a sight,” said store manager Carrie Kiryakakis. During the move, the lobby next to the bookstore was crowded with boxes and teams of people, she said. “After that, we just started the process of getting everything reset.”
The bookstore opened on Jan. 4, on the first day of intersession. “It was a very soft opening,” Kiryakakis said.
The new location features a more spacious setting than its previous location in the basement of Phelan Hall. Glass walls outline the entire exterior with various displays of merchandise.
Third year student Jessica Bush checked out the store during the first week of school. “I think it’s really great. I know the other bookstore was kind of shady-looking so this is a lot nicer,” she said. Although she hasn’t purchased anything yet, she thought the layout “looks very efficient.”
Graduate student Herman Ramirez feels indifferent to the entire change. “I thought the other one was okay. The only thing I think looks nice are the glass windows but other than that I see no difference,” he said.
Outtahere has also been conjoined with what was once Crossroads Café’s pizza and salad bar. The bar is still intact, but it is surrounded by Outtahere’s market stands. Additional seating and tables have also been added to the entire floor.
Now that the bookstore is located in the University Center next to Crossroads, Kiryakakis said, “It gives us a lot more opportunity to be available, to be more on-site. Not that we were far away by any means [in Phelan Hall], it’s just a bit more convenient if you’re grabbing your coffee and then you can get your blue book.”
Other benefits include avoiding the long lines that the old space inevitably produced. In the past, the bookstore staff had to clear out the clothing department during the beginning of the semester, to make room for the incoming lines of students. Kiryakakis said she would receive complaints from customers because of the crowded lines and the lack of clothing inventory. “It’s not that we wouldn’t have [the clothing], it’s just that we had to be more seasonal about when we would have things, Now we’re able to accommodate it on a more year-round basis.”
With a more spacious layout, the bookstore is able to display its entire inventory. “There’s a lot of things that we’ve always offered in the past and students didn’t even know we offered them, because during the busy seasons when everyone was here, we were actually pulling that stuff off the floor. Now we don’t have that.” Now, students can find merchandise that was once unnoticeable, like rain boots and jeggings.
Although Kiryakakis said they have not added any inventory, the bookstore no longer sells snacks and drinks because food service is already provided next door.
To avoid cramped lines this time around, the bookstore is utilizing the space on the side of the store to complete textbook transactions. Purchases will be moved inside the store once the busy season is over.
Those who purchased textbooks online now pick up their orders in a room near the floor’s elevator and stairs. The room is located outside of the bookstore. The old pick up room had a more cramped space, and lines ran into the information desk.
“Now we…let them have their own window and kinda keep things separated out there, its definitely functionality wise, it has made such a big difference,” Kiryakakis said.
Kiryakakis is also satisfied that the bookstore can highlight books published by USF professors. The space along the glass walls now feature these books. “In the past we had it, but it was kinda in the shelf in the back.”
As for entire change, Kiryakakis said, “I absolutely love it. It definitely has been lot of hard work getting it all done but its been absolutely amazing…Our goal is for it [operations] to run smoothly and in the old space it definitely was not conducive.”
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