The corner of Jefferson Avenue and Ellsworth Street was transformed this fall by the swank renovation of the former art building into a free-standing campus bookstore.
North Central College teamed up with Follett Corporation to relocate the store from the basement of the Harold and Eva White Activities Center to 100 E. Jefferson Ave., a one-block walk from downtown Naperville. The bookstore function had been housed in the former Cardinal Den since 1997, when it was moved from the basement of Old Main during the renovation. Thanks to the new location, the square footage of the new store increased from about 2,626 square feet to 4,576 square feet.
The new light-filled store and merchandise displays were ready for Homecoming Weekend and a large crowd gathered for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 22. "This bookstore is among the absolute best of the 900 we operate," said Robert Scholl, vice president and director of Follett, in a speech to the crowd.
In his remarks, President Harold Wilde shared that the new bookstore realized another of his long-standing goals. "Whenever I visit another college, the bookstore is one of the first places I go," he said. "I use it as a way to understand the character of the institution—how they see themselves."
North Central's new bookstore prominently features faculty-authored books at the entryway along with a second, larger display that includes alumni authors. Shoppers will find a wider selection of Cardinal apparel and gifts along with an easily accessible section of textbooks.
Sales figures for apparel and gifts went through the roof during the first two weeks of operation, according to Lilian Knight, bookstore manager. "Our first week, sales were up 230 percent over the same week last year and up more than 100 percent the second week," she says. "And we're selling items like afghans and coffee mugs that were slow to sell in the other location."
Hours for the new bookstore are Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.