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Campus bookstore celebrates grand opening

By Katie Tucker
On February 2, 2011

  • Kieran Keenan, Vice President of Sales and Operations for Follett Higher Education Group speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the grand opening of the bookstore while Guy McCauley holds the ribbon. UW- La Crosse celebrated its partnership with Follet during the ceremony on Jan. 28. Micheal Verdick - The Racquet

There was an overall sense of excitement and success as UW-La Crosse celebrated its partnership with Follett Higher Education Group during the grand opening ceremony of the campus bookstore Jan. 28.  Both the bookstore and textbook rental underwent recent renovations after Follett took over in Sept. 2009.  Campus officials and Follett representatives alike say they are happy with the progress so far.

"Our transformation has been nothing short of remarkable. We are grateful of our partnership with Follet," Bob Hetzel, Chancellor for Administration and Finance said.

The latest renovations allow more space for school supplies and new items including Vera Bradley products, snacks, and a larger book selection. A wider selection of Eagle spirit wear and gifts is also available.

"It is truly a La Crosse Eagles store – no question —as Eagles products take center stage," Kieran Keenan, Follett Vice President of Sales said. "It will be a hub for students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and other guests to shop for anything La Crosse related."

To celebrate the re-opening, a 20 percent off sale on clothing and gifts was offered. Additionally, UW-L prize packs were given away every hour, with a grand prize being a Trek Mountain bike. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held during the afternoon to close the events.

Local authors including UW-L staff Maggie McHugh and Dr. Bee Lo of "Ka's Garden", and alumnus Brett Champan of "Rearview Sunset" and "The Fingerprints of God" were also present to sign autographs and answer questions.

"The student population has been great here. And we hope everyone is as pleased as we are," Keenan said, "This is a great community to be a part of."

Budget cuts made the change in management necessary. During the summer of 2009, the campus accepted bids from competing companies to run the textbook services. According to Hetzel, UW-L will receive a minimum of $165,000 each year from Follett, in comparison to $30,000 earned the last year UW-L ran the store.

According to the company's Web site, The Follett Higher Education Group runs over 830 campus textbook services in the U.S. and Canada.  UW-L is the first university where the company will run both textbook rental and the campus bookstore.

It is estimated that Follett has invested around $360,000 in renovations in both the bookstore and textbook rental.

The bookstore is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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