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  December 10, 2003

UConn Co-op To Run
Health Center Bookstore

The Health Center has announced that the UConn Co-op is going to operate and manage its bookstore.

The change - the transition started December 1 - will mean an expanded range of products and services for Health Center bookstore users.

Image: Colleen Rossi, Marcia Ginsburg and Doretta Bruno

From left, Colleen Rossi, Marcia Ginsburg, and Doretta Bruno, staff of the Health Center bookstore, seen through the front window of the store.

Photo by Peter Morenus

It also means the Co-op is undisputed as UConn's bookstore, with sites ranging from Storrs to Avery Point, and from the law school in Hartford, to Stamford and to the medical and dental schools in Farmington.

"We're excited for a host of reasons," says William Simpson, president and general manager of the Co-op. "This completes the set of UConn bookstores. All the campuses will now be served by the UConn Co-op.

"We're also excited about being associated with the Health Center," he says. "The bookstore has a reputation of providing good service to its community. We hope to continue that tradition."

Simpson adds that the Co-op may conduct a survey to find out what customers want.

The bookstore currently lives in a cubbyhole of 1,000 square feet just off the Academic Entrance. It has two full-time employees - a manager and a clerk - and offers textbooks and guides, medical equipment such as stethoscopes, and clothing and goods to students, faculty, and staff.

The store did about $800,000 worth of business a year, says Marcia Ginsburg, manager of the former bookstore. Profits ranged from $30,000 to $50,000 a year.

Ginsburg will retain some responsibilities during the transition. Other bookstore staff have been reassigned to the Health Center's finance department.

When the Co-op - which returns any surplus to its members - takes over that revenue stream will cease, but finance officials say the convenience, the enhanced range of products, and the possibility of future expansion of the product line makes it worth it.

"We were the only UConn bookstore remaining that wasn't run by the Co-op," says Jeff Geoghegan, director of financial services. "We couldn't compete with their buying power and marketing.

"This is the right fit," Geoghegan adds.

The Health Center's other retail outlet - the Connucopia Gift Shop operated by the Health Center Auxiliary - is looking forward to the Co-op taking over the bookstore.

"The people we've met from the Co-op are impressed with the merchandise we carry and the business we do here," says Heather Gromko, manager of the gift shop.

She says the gift shop will continue to sell Husky apparel: "The more interest people have in UConn, the Huskies, and the Health Center, the better off we all are."