According to the contract, the guaranteed payment for this agreement year — which runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 — and the next year is $3 million each year. After the initial two years, the minimum annual guarantee will be 95 percent of sales commissions.
UNC expects to receive the $3 million guarantee for the first two years, which they will use to pay university expenses before turning the net amount over to need-based scholarships, Ives said. He expects anywhere from 1.75 million to two million dollars going to scholarships yearly in the first years of operation.
Michele Gretch Carter, the director of Student Stores, said the new Student Stores helps the campus by supporting employment, especially student employment, but the biggest benefit the campus enjoys is saving money.
“That’s the biggest focus of why we were brought to campus,” she said. “And so we’re very proud of that, and we are supporting that and we are doing everything we can to make sure that we can sustain that kind of affordability going forward.”
She said renovations to Student Stores will start near the end of February and hopefully finish in mid-June. Though specific aspects are still being finalized, the renovations will include an increase in space for Bull’s Head Bookshop, a space highlighting the UNC Café, an increase in UNC branding within the store and an increase in the space of the Student Stores as a whole.
“We have to be able to provide our services for those game days and rushes and homecoming and graduations, but at the same time we need to be a day-to-day support to students,” Gretch Carter said.
While UNC’s administration seems happy with the changes since privatization, other universities of similar size are content with their bookstores remaining independent.
John Parry, director of the Colorado State University Bookstore at Colorado State University, said while the bookstore at CSU is able to provide a high level of service without the assistance of a lease operator like Barnes & Noble College, privatization could be in the best interest of other university bookstores.
“I don’t think all lease operations are bad, but I think that a well-run, college-owned campus store in the long run is the better way to go,” he said.
At the Louisiana State University Bookstore, privatization under Barnes & Noble College has helped facilitate conversations between the bookstore and staff and students at the university, said April Frank, assistant store manager. She said the bookstore has a student staff committee and a faculty staff committee that discuss changes to the bookstore that could help the university community.
“We can’t change policies, but we can take advice and change things...We have more seating now, upstairs, little things like that,” she said. “Like students said they wanted to study more, they want more space for that.”
The committees have helped the bookstore feel like a part of the campus, she said.
“They give us some ideas and suggestions basically to make it a more enjoyable place to be, and we can work with what we have and make it better.”