Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 31 - May 4, 1995
A response to a letter To the Editor
The University Bookstore and the new Volume Two Bookstore at University Mall are operated by Virginia Tech Services, a non-profit corporation, with an independent governing board. The board is comprised of a majority of faculty members, several administrators, and a student. Neither state funds nor university employees support the operation.
Spectrum is a publication of the university and publishes stories of interest to the university community. Obviously, expansion of the University Bookstore off-campus is of great interest to the faculty, staff, and students. Spectrum does not accept advertising and thus a news story about any organization should not be construed as advertising.
It is possible that the location of the University Bookstore off-campus could be construed as competing with town businesses. However, it is important to note that the bookstore serves 16,000 students who live off-campus, as well as 8,000 students who live on-campus. The bookstore leadership was acutely sensitive to the perception of competition with existing businesses and worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce and Town of Blacksburg. In the end, the Chamber and others felt like a major new business at University Mall would be in the best interest of the entire business community. The University Bookstore serves as an anchor tenant at University Mall and will go a long way toward revitalizing the mall as a viable commercial entity.
Plans for the University Bookstore Volume Two were discussed in advance with all stores in the mall. It is entirely possible that the co-location of the University Bookstore as an anchor tenant will, in the long run, help the existing bookstore. Based upon comments from other businesses, including the existing bookstore, the Volume Two has already significantly increased foot traffic.
One must also look at the very mission of the university. We believe we have a responsibility to support the students with services at the lowest possible cost. This was the rationale many years ago for the creation of the bookstore.
Lastly, it is important to note that the bookstore pays local and state sales taxes like other commercial entities. It must survive in the market place and does not receive subsidies or support from the university.
Don Williams, executive director,
Virginia Tech Services