On Apr. 25 the staple Chabot Bookstore will be closing its door for good because Barnes and Noble, our provider, will no longer renew our contract due to decline in profits. For students to buy their materials for classes they would have to order them online from the Barnes and Noble website.
The website can’t replace what was once reliable for this campus. It can’t replace the friendly employees that will greet or help you when in need. It won’t fill the shoes that the bookstore has had on campus.
“It’s very difficult to run a bookstore without it being a significant drain on your budget financially. Barnes and Noble is our third-party vendor. Barnes and Noble are changing their business model and it has a lot to do with the community around here. You just don’t see many bookstores. They’re closed.” Says Vice President Dale Wagoner.
Barnes and Noble doesn’t see the personal attachments employees, students, and faculties have in the bookstore. To them it’s just another building that’s not making as much profit as it used to. There’s no cash coming out of it so why keep it going.
For the closing of the bookstore, it’s not just about shifting forward and changing from buying a book in person to buying it online. It’s about revenues. “It’s not a reliable business model for our vendor. As you can see it’s declining in the revenues which is why they won’t renew our contract.” Says Vice President Dr. Matthew Kritscher, Ed.D.
It’s a college staple to have a bookstore on campus. yet we are soon going to be a campus without one. A campus without a bookstore is like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with no peanut butter it feels incomplete.
The bookstore has always been there for students, whether it’s buying scantrons, notecards, purchasing graduation essentials, books, or snacks. It was a place students and faculty could count on in those last minute moments.
“I don’t like that the bookstore is closing. Where am I going to get my Scantron? Where am I going to get something that I need at the last minute? I understand moving forward in a new direction buying supplies online, but this is sad.” Says student Chabot Ja’vonte Long.
The bookstore was once the pride of Chabot where the campus showcased their team jerseys, coats, and other sports clothing, while the students and facilities were buying them. The bookstore gave the students the dignity of buying their club sachets, cap, and gown for their graduation. It was a sense of notice that they’ve accomplished something with their hard bearing dreams and goals.
“It’s going to feel weird buying caps and gowns on Barnes and Noble’s website. I feel sorry for the students that graduate next year. Barnes and Noble is known for ordering books online, not cap and gowns.” says Vernon Chesley.
The closing of the bookstore isn’t just affecting the students, but the employees there as well. Come May 1, they will be unemployed.
“Given the fact that I am an employee at the bookstore this heavily affects me. Once it closes, I will not have a job anymore. I feel sympathy for current students here at Chabot who unfortunately can’t get any inconvenient items once they get out of their classes.” Says employee and former Chabot student Marcos Arreguin.
“I’ve been working at the bookstore since 2016. I’m out of a job that I’ve been working at for six years. Yes, I have another job. The bookstore offers onsite help for those who have trouble finding things online.” Says student and employee Donovan Dinkins.
“I’m not scared of anything so whatever happens, happens. Our jobs are eliminated. The school will have no store for students to get their supplies and needs for their classes.” says longtime employee Johnny.
Chabot tried several factors to keep Barnes and Noble in the contract, one of them being downsizing employees in which they were already downsized. Also, who was going to continue to pay the employees was another matter. “Our vendor used to pay for the employees. We are now fully paying them out of the college fund, ” says Wagoner.
The revenue for the bookstore can no longer afford the necessities they had to offer. The profits have dried up. “Unfortunately, under the structure in which we have been operating for the last 10 years my understanding is that the revenue has gone down so much that they can’t afford to stay in business and it’s an unfortunate thing. I want to do whatever I can do to support the employees in this transition.” Says Kritscher.
There is a silver lining in this after the bookstore is closed. Chabot is still in the works turning it into many things, one of them is The Food Pantry. “One of things under consideration is to look at the space for our food pantry. We don’t know yet but it’s one idea we’re thinking about.” Says Kritscher.
The space in the 3800 building could be a great idea for something that can be centered more towards the students on campus. “We wanted to be a student space potentially. That’s the primary dialogue that’s going on right now. Maybe we could utilize that space more of a college center, which has more student spaces in it. That’s part of our master plan. We can also look at it as a place where students can meet and greet.” Says Wagoner.
Another idea that has been discussed is filling up the space with vending machines, “It will be more advanced than the others that’s already on campus. The machine will have fresh food with lots of options. Instead of having a series of refrigerator cases with soft drinks, is to replace those vending machines that would have fresh sandwiches, as well as traditional snacks, like chips, water, and sodas.” Says Kritscher.
“Vending machines? Are you serious? We already have a lot of them. Why do we need more? They’re unreliable.” says student Keygen Mitchell.
Even though the bookstore doesn’t make as much money as it once did, it has something that the online website doesn’t, which is a heartbeat. The bookstore has the heartbeat of a lot of people on this campus which is why some hold a personal attachment. Soon the 3800 building will have no heartbeat and will perish. It’s very sad that our bookstore is leaving us. One of the staple of Chabot is closing for good. No more going in greeting employees, no more buying from in person, no more on-site help for having trouble finding your books are necessities. Come Apr. 25 it’s all gone.