On Monday September 21, the RPI Collegiate Store had its reopening. For the past several months, it has been temporarily housed in the Games Room and Mother’s while its original location underwent renovations.
According to store manager Ken Palmer, “It’s just a relief that the temporary space is over; we’re home where we belong and we can really get settled and focus on doing the job of the Collegiate Store. Before, it was tough because we were in three different locations. Everyone here at the store is really excited to get moving.” He understands that it was quite a shock for everyone coming back to find a chaotic construction zone. It may have been upsetting for a lot of people because of the inconvenience of having the bookstore scattered about the Games Room and Mother’s being temporarily set aside, but he hopes that once they see the new space, they will understand what the wait was for. The store is still going through growing pains and will take some adjustment, but Palmer is confident that, in a few weeks when it’s full of merchandise and fully operational, everyone will be able to really take it in and think “oh, well this is really cool!”
He said that the first day of reopening went very well; there have been many ooh’s and aah’s, and people have been surprised in a good way. He explained that “everyone who’s stopped by has been blown away by what the new store looks like. Operationally, we’re ready to go—just making the place look nice. What people react to most is that it’s brighter in here. It looks bigger than it did before, as if there’s more open space; which is funny because we can actually fit more stuff in here than we could before the remodel.”
When we asked him if anything about the store had changed besides its appearance, he said that everything has changed. According to Palmer, “there’s very little that even resembles what the old space looks like, especially when you consider the computer store, which used to be in the Voorhees Computing Center, is now in the space not only is the store better from the remodel, but we’ve built it from the ground up and essentially added a second store into the space. So we’re just really taking advantage of the space to make it that much better.” Many people believe that the lights unquestionably brighten the area, making it seem larger and even more modern. The assortment of products also feels a lot more impressive now that it’s centralized. Another feature is that there is even a changing room for those who may wish to purchase school apparel.
Palmer said he hopes that everyone really likes the computer store, with its computer and electronics demo tables, being up front. It is currently being arranged, but should be fully stocked in the next week or two. He suggests that everyone drop by to take a look at the space, and he also hopes that the entire campus enjoys the changes Follett has made to the store. In the long run, Palmer hopes for more integration with the school system in order to provide a more seamless experience for all. He does not know what exactly will be implemented in the future, but one thing is certain—he truly believes the new RPI Collegiate Store has much potential.