By Izbel Torres
As moviegoers patiently awaited the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Bookstore awakened a force of its own.
Over the fall quarter, “Star Wars” themed merchandise popped up at the bookstore. Products such as Darth Vader lanyards, Stormtrooper t-shirts and R2-D2 car decals are currently being sold at the bookstore.
“It adds fun to the store,” said Brian Alexander-Fetterman, assistant director of general merchandise at the Bronco Bookstore. “It’s something new instead of just the same old stuff. You can find anything ‘Star Wars’ right now; I saw a hair brush the other day, Disney is monopolizing on any rights that they can get.”
In the past, the bookstore has also sold Marvel superheroes and Hello Kitty-related merchandise, but with the hype of the new J.J. Abrams-directed film, “Star Wars” is now the bookstore’s new bestseller.
“There’s a vendor that had a license for [‘Star Wars’] and already had a program that contacted us, and we agreed because we knew these products would sell,” said Alexander-Fetterman. “They had it already worked out with the rights to the studio. They have a stylebook, and you get to pick and mix around certain ingredients that they already have pre-set up. And then you have certain color mixes that you can choose with your [university] colors. It’s not like you have an open reign to do what you want with it.”
According to employees at the bookstore, the most popular “Star Wars” items sold are the car decals. They come in a variety of designs, such as Darth Vader urging you to “Come to the Cal Poly Pomona Bronco side” and a Stormtrooper commanding you to “Enlist now Cal Poly Pomona.”
“I’ve seen a lot of ‘Star Wars’ merchandise at stores in preparation for the movie coming out,” said SueAnn Wang, a second-year computer science student and an employee at the Bronco Bookstore. “People have come in asking ‘where are the “Star Wars” decals?’ We’ve been selling those out and having to restock them a couple days later. The car decals are definitely the most popular items because they’re not too expensive, and they have nice designs. It’s pretty cool because it’s more refreshing instead of the regular Cal Poly Pomona decals.”
Alexander-Fetterman sees a strong student interest in these franchise-themed products but worries that student interest will wane and the store will be left with surplus merchandise.
“These products have done well,” said Alexander-Fetterman. “We’ve had to place re-orders on the decals a few times ” I think I just placed the third re-order for decals. The shirts just got here about a month ago, but they’ve done well enough. They’re doing good, but you kind of have to watch it because you don’t want to keep ordering and ordering and all of a sudden the interest is gone and you have this supply of stuff and nobody to buy it.”
Kassandra Silva, a first-year liberal studies student, likes the “Star Wars” merchandise because it represents CPP in a fun, new way.
“This lanyard has Darth Vader and Yoda on the other side,” said Silva. “I wanted to buy it because I wanted a CPP lanyard, and I saw this cool ‘Star Wars’ lanyard at the bookstore. It’s kind of the best of both worlds ” I get my nerdy and my college in at the same time.”
Silva, a “Star Wars” fan, saw “The Force Awakens” on opening night and feels the bookstore should sell more themed merchandise.
“If I could choose CPP merch that incorporated other fan bases, I’d go with maybe movies based off books,” said Silva. “I love books. I’d like to see CPP merchandise of popular series like Harry Potter or the Percy Jackson series, that’d be really cool.”
While Alexander-Fetterman couldn’t reveal what new products the Bronco Bookstore has in store for the campus community, he said that students can look forward to more of these products in the future.
“We’ll continue to [sell products like these],” said Alexander-Fetterman. “I’m glad that other people like it. We’re going to continue doing stuff just depending on how mainstream or how popular it is.”
Monica Lopez / The Poly Post
Star Wars Merchandise
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