CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa has acquired University Book and Supply and renamed it the UNI Bookstore, effective Tuesday.
The move was approved by the Iowa Board of Regents in December.
The store’s private shareholders first approached the university in spring of last year about the prospect of UNI purchasing the store.
“In this case, we saw that we could add value for students,” said Michael Hager, senior vice president of finance and operations at UNI.
Hager said the UNI Bookstore will operate as a not-for-profit entity of the university, allowing it to hold down costs for students. The change of ownership also will allow the bookstore to be more tightly integrated with the university. The store will work closely with faculty members and coordinate with the orientation staff to better serve new students.
By operating as a nonprofit, Hager said the store will be able to sell textbooks and merchandise to students at economical prices.
“We’ve already identified about $300,000 worth of savings that will be passed on to the students,” Hager said.
Also, students will now be able to charge the cost of their textbooks and other materials to their U-bill and use their financial aid to cover it. Hager said there are plans to bolster the store’s selection of licensed logo wear.
“If you want a lower cost T-shirt, you can find it at the bookstore. If you want a higher quality Nike item, you can find it at the bookstore,” said Hager. “We’ll have a broader range of materials that people can look at and purchase.”
The store will retain most of the same staff, Hager said. Longtime University Book and Supply employee and chief operating officer Doug Johnson will serve as store director. The store employs about 15 people full time and 70 part time.
The store sign will be changed in about a month, Hager said. UNI will pay for the store’s acquisition with revenues from bookstore operations. He said UNI consulted Iowa State University officials about ISU’s campus bookstore in the Memorial Union on the Ames campus in setting up the UNI operation.
University Book and Supply was founded by officers of J.S. Latta Co. in Cedar Falls in 1948 as The College Store. It became a separate company in 1962.
For more information about the UNI Bookstore, go to unibookstore.com.