Barnes and Noble is promising Grand Rapids Community College students a new retail experience and a streamlined process to order textbooks and other class supplies when it opens June 15 as the new campus bookstore.
The college signed a five-year contract to operate the store, located in the Student Center, along with an online store.
Barnes and Noble College looks to provide an unmatched retail experience for GRCC students, both in-person and online. Students are going to see different merchandise, but the company also looks to create a different atmosphere, with sitting areas and a place to relax.
Barnes and Noble College is one of the nation’s largest college bookstore operators, with more than 800 college stores across the country. The company manages 35 stores in the state, with West Michigan locations including Muskegon Community College, Montcalm Community College and Lake Michigan College. Other Michigan Barnes and Noble stores include the University of Michigan, Northern Michigan University and Wayne State University.
GRCC had for years contracted with Follett, also a large operator with a national presence, to run the campus store. The company’s contract expired this year, and a campus committee reviewed proposals and selected Barnes and Noble as a new partner.
“It’s good practice to explore all options when contracts expire, and see what opportunities might be better for our students and community” said Lisa Freiburger, GRCC’s CFO and vice president for finance and administration. “Follett was a wonderful partner for GRCC for many years, and we are excited about new experiences and opportunities that can come from this new partnership.”
Barnes and Noble College intends to create a seamless experience for students to purchase textbooks and other materials, with an ability to integrate with the college’s Blackboard course management system.
The company also plans a bookstore mobile app that will allow students to receive updates, place orders and learn about discounts.
The store plans to host events, such as graduation fairs, “de-stress” programs during finals and other activities intended to make the store a hub for students.