Thanks to the renovation of the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center, the Syracuse University community now has a re-imagined campus store. The retail space still places academic resources at the heart of its mission while making room for new University-branded apparel, a late-night food and grocery market, a coffee stand and a student-focused event space.
Central to the store’s revamp is a name change. No longer the Syracuse University Bookstore, the Campus Store now reflects an industrywide shift toward digital course materials and away from printed textbooks, once the mainstay of college bookstores. It’s a trend that was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To adjust, the store has worked with its partners to increase the supply of eBooks and has added a more robust product selection to its website in response to an increased demand for online shopping . (Just this past year, the store’s web sales increased by 22.5%.)
The new layout of the store reflects these shifts. Printed textbooks are now housed on movable shelves that can be wheeled away once the start-of-semester textbook rush is over, creating space for book signings, poetry readings, open-mic nights and other events in support of the store’s mission.
An Improved Shopping Experience
The Campus Store’s changing physical footprint features bright and welcoming new entrances on both the 100 and 200 level of the Schine Student Center. New carpeting, flooring and lighting have modernized the space, and a floor-to-ceiling glass façade creates space for eye-catching window displays. A comprehensive store reorganization means that merchandise is spread out, giving visitors more room to explore clothes and gifts.
Collegiate apparel—all of those orange shirts, hats, and sweatshirts—is a targeted area of growth for the store, as customers have demonstrated a consistently high demand for these products. “Our vision is that with the extra space we are gaining on the main floor, we can expand the collegiate area and tell our vendors’ stories much better,” says Gale Youmell, the store’s general division merchandise manager. “You’ll see a lot of Champion, a lot of Nike, and there’s a section for higher-end brands and casual workwear.”
Youmell says the store can now devote more space to trending products and proven sellers. Crop tops, reverse weave sweatshirts, winter hats, and apparel with the names of the University’s schools and colleges have been consistently popular. And of course: “Sweatpants have been top sellers,” she says. “We have a hard time keeping them in stock.”
New Market Opens for Late-Night Snacking and Shopping
“The upgrades have meant that we are able to do things I’ve wanted to introduce since I started as director six years ago,” says Roger Hailstork, the store’s director, who notes that the market now has its own entrance from the Schine Center. “The new store entrance means that we can make that 100-level space into a destination. The market was the obvious choice for that location. It can stay open later, and we can meet the needs of our students.”
The Campus Store Market offers grab-and-go food, late-night snacks, groceries and a Dunkin’ coffee stand. For the first time, students will be able to use their SUpercard FOOD funds to purchase food items from the market. The market will remain open until 9 p.m.—after the rest of the store closes at 5:00 p.m.—serving as a convenient one-stop shop for students who are studying, visiting the Intercultural Collective , or gathering to watch a game on the 12-foot video screen just outside the market area. If pandemic-driven restrictions lift next fall, Hailstork hopes to keep the market open even later, possibly until 11 p.m.
These extended hours mean more opportunities for student workers. In a typical year, the Campus Store employs 60-80 students, and the new market will create about 15 additional positions for students. Hailstork and his team have developed a student supervisor program for the market, and they are eager to develop and train a new team of student workers.
More Upgrades to Come in the Year Ahead
Even with all of the changes introduced with the Schine renovation, there are still more upgrades in the works for the Campus Store. Its website and point of sale system will be completely overhauled this summer, bringing major improvements to the user experience both in-store and online.
The staff at the Campus Store couldn’t be more excited about the future. “We have the tools to make the store flourish,” says Hailstork. “We’re in a really good place to provide the best service for our community.”