College Coop to close
By Simon Isham & Jacob Abrahamson—
The College Coop, a book and gift shop located in Cardinal Towne, is closing after nearly three years of business. Operated by Gray’s College Bookstore and connected to Quills, the shop sells clothes, books and gifts.
When the new landlords of Cardinal Towne purchased the building, they approached Gray’s management about buying out the Coop’s lease. Gray’s accepted their terms. Cardinal Towne management plans to replace the Coop with a leasing office for the student apartments located in the building.
Cheryl Vice, retail manager for the Coop, said the decision to close the Coop was a difficult one for Gray’s management, “as we still feel that there is a place for a unique retail space like the Coop on U of L’s campus.”
Vice said that the Coop was able to carry product lines that would have looked out-of-place in Gray’s, a traditional college bookstore. With the Coop concept, Gray’s was able to expand their sales to dorm supplies, novelty items and gifts.
However, Gray’s management also intended the Coop to be “a ‘third place,’ a public place where people can gather, put aside the concerns of home and work and hang out. With the University transitioning from a commuter school to having many more on-campus residents, we saw a unique opportunity to create a vibrant meeting place, combined with retail, that served the needs of students to network with their peers.”
The Coop invited several Registered Student Organizations to conduct meetings in their store. Because of these invitations, the store hosted many events, such as hip-hop line dancing, poetry slams, jazz nights, open mics, bands and club meetings, but they were not as frequent as the management had originally hoped.
Gray’s does not have as much floor space as the Coop did, so many of the events formerly hosted at the Coop will no longer be viable; however, Vice said that the store may still try to offer some events.
Many of the products lines that were successful at the Coop will transfer to Gray’s across the street. Gray’s will also expand the number of books offered for music and education classes. They are also considering offering book consignment services.
Vice also said that a “custom Greek department” was in development at the Coop, and that students may see this at Gray’s in the future.
“One thing that will not change is our commitment to giving back to the U of L community. We will continue to partner with Family Scholar House, Golden Key and other organizations,” said Vice.
Vice indicated that there is a good possibility that the store will reopen soon in another location.