The Garfield Book Company will shut down this summer at it’s current location on Garfield Street, just east of Pacific Lutheran University’s campus.
PLU began appraising the Garfield Book Company during the 2013-2014 academic year, and found that among similarly sized schools, an on-campus and university-controlled bookstore should return around $10,000 a year in profit. The Garfield Book Company, however, has never produced a profit. Additionally, the average size for a university bookstore was 6390 square feet. The space that the Garfield Book Company currently uses comes in at 15,582 square feet, plus 1,690 square feet for the space occupied by 208 Garfield.
PLU doesn’t have plans to remove the Garfield Book Company completely, though.
“What we’ve anecdotally heard is that if [the bookstore] was closer, we might use it more often, so we’re looking at an interim step and then a long-term step.” said Donna Gibbs, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
“The interim step is to create mobile kiosks, probably in the University Center, that would carry primarily Lute gear, some supplies, maybe gift cards,” said Gibbs. “A much, much smaller footprint of gift items than what you see in the store now.”
The long-term step involves moving the Garfield Book Company into the first floor of the Mordvedt Library. This step includes a full remodel of the first floor of the library, beginning this summer and ending in the fall of 2017.
“There’s a lot of underutilized space there,” Gibb said. PLU is currently looking at what the cost for the remodel would be. “We’re looking at possibly putting a cafe in the library, upgrading the equipment that students use, creating more collaborative meeting spaces.”
The remodel would require 2,000-3,000 square feet of space on the first floor to be allocated to the bookstore.
The textbooks, however, will remain online-only. In a survey sent out by Marketing and Communications, 72 percent of PLU students said they purchase their books from Amazon, while only 15 percent said they used PLU’s online bookstore.
PLU’s online bookstore looks to be competitively priced, Gibbs said. In a survey that compared pricing of select textbooks on both sites, in almost every case MBS is competitive or cheaper when the guaranteed buyback is considered.
208 Garfield will remain in its current location. In fact, PLU is looking to expand 208’s kitchen once the bookstore has been removed. The Fireside room may become a to-go counter.
As for the soon-to-be former space of the Garfield Book Company, Gibbs said she’d love to tell us what’s becoming of it, but can’t just yet.
“That information will be available in the next two weeks, or by the end of April,” she said. ◼︎