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The Scarlet & Black

Bookstore finalizes downtown move

By Michael Cummings

For most Grinnell students, the new school year means moving into a new living space, but over the summer, the College’s two bookstores also found themselves moving into a new space: downtown on Main Street. The change came after decisions were made to tear down the on-campus bookstore to make way for the new Humanities and Social Studies Complex (HSSC). College administration and bookstore employees decided to merge the campus bookstore with the Pioneer Bookshop, previously located downtown on 4th Avenue, to eliminate redundancy.

The new location merges the on-campus bookstore and Pioneer Bookshop. Photo by Jeff Li.
The new location merges the on-campus bookstore and Pioneer Bookshop. Photo by Jeff Li.

“We thought, well, we don’t need two stores downtown, so we moved both [to the new location] together,” said Cassie Wherry, manager of the bookstore.

Wherry noted that moving all of the books, apparel and other items from building to building was not easy, but that they were able to spread the move out.

“We actually started packing up things [early] as we didn’t need them, because we knew we were moving by … March … so we packed up the things that we knew we were done with,” Wherry said.

Wherry also noted that the Bookstore did not do all of the moving themselves.

“We had a lot of help, which was good, but it was still pretty physically demanding,” she said, adding, “We used C&K moving to help us move.”

While many students have expressed concern that the bookstore will be unable to provide the same level of services from its new location as it did when it was located on campus, Wherry said that plans are in place to ensure students get the service they need.

“We have delivered the reservations that people wanted to buy online from us, and they were given the choice to pick up in the store or pick it up in JRC,” Wherry said. “Because we thought there would be a pretty high volume, we decided to have a room [in the JRC] so that the mail room didn’t have to take the brunt of it all until next Monday. Not only are we selling textbooks online, but we sell notebooks and pens and pencils and calculators, more and more things we’re putting online so that throughout the year what students want they can order it online, and it’ll come.”

The new location opened on July 5, but a more formal opening ceremony is planned for early this semester because so few students were in Grinnell in early July.

“We’re going to have our grand opening on September 16, which is the Friday of Family Weekend,” Wherry said, “So we want to have prizes and activities and just a lot of fun – cake, there’s always cake, the ribbon cutting, that kind of thing.”

Additionally, Wherry said she hopes that students will utilize the new location as a place to come hang out or study, adding that bookstore employees are planning events to this end.

“We’re open until 7 at night on Thursdays, and then all day 9 to 5 on Saturdays, so we thought maybe we could do some stuff where … students might like to come hang out.”

Wherry noted that although they are happy with the new location, the move is only temporary.

“The plan is for us to be in this location for just three to five years … then we’re going to move into the Broad Street location where they’re expanding off into what we call the zone of confluence,” Wherry said.

Whatever its location, Wherry emphasized that the bookstore looks forward to continuing to be a resource for students.

“We just really want people to come down and visit us,” Wherry said, noting that the new location has free College Wi-Fi r students who wish to stop by.

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