Student Stores celebrates grand re-opening

UNC Student Stores has a new look and a new buzz about it.

With a revamped café, larger Bull’s Head Bookshop and a third-floor lounge, the store has been transformed into a campus destination where students can study, socialize and relax.

“It’s already becoming a buzzing center of student and faculty activity,” said Lloyd Kramer, director of Carolina Public Humanities and member of the Bulls Head Faculty Advisory Committee. “Every time I come through here there are a just a lot of people.”

On Sept. 12, Chancellor Carol L. Folt joined the store’s staff and Barnes & Noble College Vice President Paul Maloney to officially re-open the store with a ribbon cutting ceremony, signifying the completion of the summer-long renovations.

“This is a transformation for a place that means a lot to a lot of people,” Folt said.

The $3.8 million renovation included an expanded café with seating space for up to 100 people, a larger Bull’s Head Bookshop on the third floor with 70,000 titles, and a new lounge on the third floor. The store now boasts one of the largest campus Nike and Jordan shops in the country, along with a new “Glossary” cosmetic and care bar.

Renovations to UNC Student Stores were part of the University’s 10-year, $30 million agreement with Barnes & Noble, which took over operational control of the store last summer. Since then, Carolina students have saved nearly $2 million on textbooks.

As part of the agreement with Barnes & Noble, net proceeds from UNC Student Stores sales support need-based scholarships. Barnes & Noble forecasts an annual payment to the University of more than $3 million, with a guaranteed minimum payment of $3 million annually for the first two years. After the University covers operating expenses, it is expected that it could nearly quadruple its recent contribution to need-based scholarships annually.

In addition to an initial $1 million from the company for scholarships last September, Barnes & Noble expects to generate $15 million to $20 million for need-based scholarships over the length of the contract.

“Of all the things that make this public University true to what its real mission is, need-based aid is right there at the core,” Folt said.

The UNC Student Stores renovations, which was funded by Barnes & Noble, aimed to transform the store into a central destination for the campus community that could host events like book signings, lectures or live music.

Makayla Proctor, a course materials supervisor at UNC Student Stores, said renovations were catered to the students’ input and needs, and showcases Barnes & Noble’s commitment to the Carolina community.

“We want this store to be a staple for students,” said Proctor, a former student employee. “We’re here for when you start your first day of orientation all the way up until you buy your regalia.”

Story by Brandon Bieltz, photos by Jon Gardiner and video by Rob Holliday, University Communications
Published Sept. 12, 2017