Home News CSU injects 10k into cash-strapped Co-Op bookstore, again

CSU injects 10k into cash-strapped Co-Op bookstore, again

by Archives January 15, 2008

Concordia’s Co-Op Bookstore has received a financial shot in the arm, in the form of a $10,000 interest-free-loan from the CSU. The student-run bookstore ran into problems when the volunteer who handled the Co-Op’s finances became embroiled in personal problems last June and failed to keep the books up-to-date.
Larissa Dutil, the Bookstore’s manager said the problems caught her by surprise, “personal things happened in her life and I guess that affected her work, but we weren’t aware of it. We were being told, ‘don’t worry about that I’ve filed this and that and I’ll fax this and that or this is paid.’ We had no reason not to trust this person, we’d never had any problems.” She said the volunteer had handled the Co-Op’s books for four years, without incident. However she refused to name the volunteer in question, “I consider her a friend.it wasn’t malicious.” Dutil says the Co-Op is still missing many of their financial documents and had not been paying their taxes.
Dutil said the loan is necessary to cover costs while the situation is worked out, “we don’t have a cushion, we don’t get student fees or anything like that.” In August the Co-Op hired a new, paid, accountant. “There’s still a lot of work that we’re going to need to be doing, with the new accountant.”
“This is a fresh start . . . it was a big wakeup call.”
This is the second time the CSU has extended a loan to the Co-Op. According to Fauve Castagna, the CSU’s VP Finance, the first loan is still being paid back, but a payment plan has been worked out between the Co-Op and the CSU. According to this plan the Co-Op will settle all its debts with the union by May 2010.
Now that the Co-Op is out of financial danger, Dutil says that their next step is to raise its profile. But she says that with a staff of only five people, it’s a difficult process. One area where she says business has been growing is textbook orders by professors. Dutil says that over 50 Concordia profs are now ordering textbooks through the Co-Op store, instead of the university’s bookstore. “Every semester we get one or two more,” she said. However books ordered through the Co-Op do not appear on student’s book lists’, which come from the university’s bookstore.
But Dutil says she thinks the two stores compliment each other as much as they compete, “there’s a reason the university bookstore is there.we really are more of an alternative to their service. We don’t only have academic books, we have mostly non-academic books.” She also says that the Co-Op’s used book sales, which are done on a consignment basis, are very different from the way they are done at the other bookstore. Dutil said there are pros and cons to both systems. While at the University Bookstore students receive cash immediately, students can ask a higher price at the Co-Op bookstore – there’s just no guarantee someone will buy.
Concordia’s geography department has also joined the Co-Op, “they order their paper through us, it’s cheaper than ordering it through the university,” said Dutil.
The Concordia Community Solidarity Co-Op Bookstore was founded in 2002 and is independent of the university. A non-profit Co-Op, they sell all their products at below the suggested retail price. Customers can also join the Co-Op, for $10 to receive further discounts and to participate in the Co-Op.

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