By Meaghan Sands
As students file through the Bronco Bookstore during rush week, and head toward the stairs leading up to the book department, they will be greeted with a shiny new Verizon sign and clean white desks showcasing Apple products. Modernizing the technology department has made the bookstore a new and trendy location on campus.
The Bronco Bookstore has welcomed the addition of a Verizon Store and has redone the technology department, which now boasts an additional 700 new items according to Brian Fetterman, computer store manager.
Fetterman is the mastermind behind, not only the overhaul of the technology department, but also the new partnership with Verizon.
Having started in June at the bookstore, Fetterman had previously worked at Long Beach State’s Forty-Niner shops, where he was in charge of technology and supplies, and has worked in the bookstore industry since 1996.
According to Clint Aase, director of bookstore services, it decided to partner with Verizon about three to four months ago after Fetterman had learned about the campus partnership program at an industry show. They saw it, not so much as a need, but an opportunity.
“Virtually every student on campus has a cell phone, most of them are smart phones, and we have the ability to offer educational discounts negotiated through the CSU chancellor’s office,” said Aase.
In this case, the actual phones themselves do not have educational discounts; it’s the plans that do.
They had been looking for some time for a way to bring a cell phone carrier into the bookstore and feel that they got into this program at a perfect time. The carrier had already opened up at four other universities, including San Diego State, for the fall and Cal Poly Pomona came in right after them.
“What we did was we looked at the cost of operation and startup and the potential sales to students and we decided that it looked like a successful program,” said Aase.
Aase’s hope is that the university will benefit from having a convenient place to renew their plans and get Verizon services for their current phones.
Through the Verizon store students, faculty and staff can get a discount off the data plan and the extended warranty. The current qualifier is an .edu mailing address that the customer is the main account holder of.
Faculty and staff receive 15 percent off data plans and the student discount is still being looked into, however, Aase and Fetterman assume it will be around 15 percent as well.
The extended warranty program can be purchased at half the price with no deductible and device trade-ins at the store are also coming in at some pretty nice values according to Fetterman.
The implementation of the Verizon store was funded by the foundation and was only for fixtures and inventory.
Because the Bronco Bookstore is a self-operating and self-financing unit, it does not have a budget. They are required to make the necessary sales to generate the funds needed to operate. Whatever funds are left over from those sales go back to the university.
“So if this helps [the bookstore] to achieve its financial responsibilities and have a little left over then what’s left goes back to the students,” said Aase.
Funds may also increase for the bookstore due to the rebranded and fresh look of their technology department, now named Bronco Tech.
Among the new and expanded products for purchase are Bluetooth speakers, new bag vendors and a larger variety of printers. They now boast a wider variety of computers as well as the edition of tablets and Kindles.
Emily Abremski, a fourth-year hospitality management student who has worked in the bookstore since her first year at CPP, thinks that there are some specific programs they now have that will be valuable to students.
Students finding their first purchase of a laptop financially daunting can now take out a $1,000 loan through the Credit Union on campus to use at the bookstore and bring their laptop in for repairs, even if it’s not a Mac.
The Bronco Bookstore’s laptop repair program can now fix PCs and other electronics such as iPads through a send-out program with another company the works seamlessly with the bookstore.
According to Abremski, repairs used to be done inhouse, but even though their computer technicians were well trained they sometimes couldn’t repair the hardware because they didn’t have the available parts in the store.
Students can now get an online quote, with a description of what’s wrong, and can bring their laptop into the store and have it sent out to be fixed. From what Abremski has seen so far, the process is quite fast and most repairs don’t take longer than a week.
The technology department is almost at completion and is expected to be fully done by February or March after more lighting, decor and monitors are put in similar to those seen in the Bronco Student Center.
“That’ll be the resting point for a while; nothing is ever finished,” said Fetterman. “We want to do outreach and tabling. I’m looking into how we can do the trade-in program during when we do the buyback for books.”
Between the new Verizon Store and the technology department Aase’s hope is that the bookstore can offer students enough convenience and value that they’ll choose to use the facility because right now it is offering something better than most of the outside businesses can give them.
“Now, you don’t have to spend $1,000 on a laptop,” said Abremski. “There are cheaper options that give faculty and students a lot more availability to what they needed at a lower budget.”
She also appreciates having the ability to be able to check on her family’s phone plan and have a hand in the process.
“Since we’re kind of getting trained to be young adults in the world it’s nice that we can take the initiative rather than having to have our parents do everything—which I think is really cool,” said Abremski.
The Bronco Bookstore will be having a soft opening in January and is planning a grand opening in the beginning of February with promotions.
Nathan Guerard/The Poly Post
Bookstore gets high-tech, trendy additions
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