As new union goes up, bookstore traffic declines

Margaret Bendorf

Margaret Bendorf

Students, faculty and campus organizations have all had to make adjustments this year because of the University Student Union’s construction. But the construction has actually hurt business for the University Bookstore.

With the breezeway and meeting rooms gone, the bookstore has lost most of its walk-by traffic customers, upsetting sales immensely. Bookstore Director Gary Burdick said this year’s sales are down by $100,000.

Another problem Burdick has run into is the ongoing construction during business hours. For example, customer traffic was slowed while crew workers installed handicap accessibile doors during one of the bookstore’s busiest days of the year. Students were forced to move around the workers.

“One of my main concerns has been with the designers and their inexperience with the bookstore business,” he says.

The biggest hassle for students thus far has been the overwhelming lines.

“It’s just been insane,” said sophomore Jordan Day. “I broke a sweat just standing in line.”

Some students plan ahead for the inconveniences.

“I expected long lines and large crowds, so I went at about 9:30 in the morning and there was no wait,” said freshman Jordan Ochocki.

Others don’t mind putting up with the hardships the construction has caused.

“I haven’t heard too many complaints about the construction,” said freshman Chris Mouw. “I feel that any difficulties we as students might face are compensated for with the completion of the renovated Student Union. It’s going to be awesome.”

But will the addition to the bookstore be all that beneficial? Burdick said that with the Computer Tech moving in from the Rotunda, he won’t be able to spread out as much as originally hoped. He might have the setup flopped around, but not much else will change.

But Burdick remains optimistic, knowing he will be able to work with whate

ver the outcome. It could be worse. When the union was renovated in 1992, Burdick and his staff packed up and moved to the intramural building. That was a huge hassle, he said. He would rather deal with this than move again.