New Management in Place:

Two Bookstores to Temp for One

Photograph: The bookstore staff prepares to move: Paul Weissman, trade manager; Luis Sanchez; Michael Colon and Kevin Renshaw, general manager. Photo Credit: Amy Callahan.

In preparation for the pending demolition of Ferris Booth Hall, the Columbia Bookstore will soon move from FBH and split into two locations: the temporary building near Butler Library and a storefront space at Amsterdam Avenue and West 118th Street.

The Business and Law schools will be served by the Amsterdam location, and the College and other schools will be served in the temporary building. The new locations are scheduled to be open and operating before the end of April.

"We plan to have very little, if any, disruption in service," said Kevin Renshaw, general manager. "That's our goal."

Each location will sell textbooks, trade books, school supplies, Columbia clothing and accessories and computer software and supplies.

The relocation from the 13,000-square-foot FBH space will result in a loss of retail area for the bookstore. The temporary building will provide 5,000 square feet; the Amsterdam location 2,200 square feet. Other operations, such as shipping and storage, will be handled at a location on West 119th Street.

The bookstore's future location on Amsterdam was previously occupied by Mama's restaurant, said William Scott, deputy vice president of institutional real estate.

He said the restaurant owners--a family which operates three other businesses in the neighborhood--agreed to close the restaurant as part of a restructuring of their business. Mama's was in arrears to Columbia, which owns the property.

To address the shortage of space, the bookstores will tailor the limited retail space to fit the demands of the University community. For example, at the beginning of the semester, more textbooks and supplies will be on the floor. Then, after the rush at the start of classes, the textbooks will be scaled back to make room for reference books and computer software.

Renshaw and assistant general manager Stephen Anderberg recently replaced the former top management of the bookstore, after Columbia administrators complained of poor service. The bookstore is managed under contract by Barnes & Noble. Renshaw joins Columbia after managing the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore at SUNY Binghamton, and Anderberg comes from Hunter.

"The new management team has already responded to our need for improvement at the bookstore," said Vice President for Student Services Mark Burstein. "Kevin and Steve have demonstrated their desire to serve the Columbia community, and I am confident the relocation will go smoothly."

Since their arrival at the store within the last few weeks, Renshaw and Anderberg have held four customer service training sessions with employees, and have begun an outreach plan to the faculty. They also plan to hand deliver book order forms for the fall semester.

"We're trying to assess what the needs are," Renshaw said.

The bookstore has also been in contact with an advisory board made up of administrators and professors.

Joseph Ienuso, director of student services, said the enthusiasm of the new bookstore management has translated into better service.

"In a very short time it's made a difference," Ienuso said.

Columbia University Record -- March 8, 1996 -- Vol. 21, No. 19