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What once existed as a lounge in the Lower Anderson University Center became a one-stop student shop as Garfield Book Company began its transition to campus this fall.
Pacific Lutheran University’s Garfield bookstore offers a variety of merchandise, including Lute gear and school supplies. The Lute Locker installment in the Lower AUC marks Garfield’s newest effort to bring its stock closer to its customers.
“We needed to be closer to our students and focusing on [them],” store manager Amanda Hawkins said.
The Lute Locker appeared this semester and carries a collection of PLU apparel and supplies such as pens, notebooks and planners. The items featured at the Lute Locker represent the degree to which the bookstore’s stock will decrease as they move on campus.
For the most part, the bookstore plans to feature only clothing and school supplies at their new on-campus site and all future locations. The merchandise has changed, however; there has been an influx of new Lute Gear designs and clothing options.
“Pretty much all of the clothes are new…[and] a lot of students that come by to look end up buying something,” senior and bookstore employee Arika Matoba said. “No one just kind of wanders out to Garfield, [but here] people come by to talk, hang out and see the store.”
Come November, the bookstore’s traditional location on Garfield Street will house the Pierce County Center for Arts and Technology. PCAT derives from the National Center for Arts and Technology and serves to provide career training and arts education to high school students as well as unemployed and underemployed adults.
PCAT leased the Garfield space and plans to construct its center in the coming year. Though the nonprofit doesn’t officially claim the building until November, the bookstore makes its full transition to campus next month. The move is expected to result in financial savings for PLU.
“It’s no secret that the expense of this building is very high,” Hawkins said.
Future plans for the bookstore’s presence on campus tentatively include a shop on the first floor of Mortvedt Library, although the logistics of such a store have yet to be finalized. According to Hawkins, “it’s not a done deal” and lots of details about the project are still being developed.
Even though the bookstore hopes to eventually move to the library, the Lute Locker currently serves the purpose of reaching students where they are.
“[Lute Locker] is making the bookstore more a part of PLU instead of this separate entity on Garfield,” Matoba said. “It’s becoming more of a student store versus [a destination] for the Tacoma/Parkland community.”
The Lute Locker, located in the Lower UC, stands as a resource and shopping opportunity for students, and the store managers welcome feedback on how well the pop-up serves its purpose.
“If students have suggestions on what they want to see, stop by and tell us,” Hawkins said. “If there’s things that we’re missing, stop by the Lute Locker, tell us what you want, and we’ll try our best to get it.” ◼︎