Catamount Clothing and Gift Shop Catamount clothing on display.
Merchandise on display in the new Catamount Clothing and Gift Shop.

CULLOWHEE – Changes are in store this summer at the Western Carolina University Bookstore.

A portion of the store's retail operation will be moving into approximately 3,000 square feet of space in the recently opened expansion of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Beginning this summer, Western Carolina clothing, souvenirs and gift items will be sold in the new Catamount Clothing and Gift Shop, said Sandra Seiler, who will be manager of the shop. Rental textbooks, supplemental and graduate textbooks, computer supplies, and art and school supplies will remain in the existing store, Seiler said.

The new shop will be open for business Tuesday, June 1, with a grand opening celebration in the fall.

University officials, who say it is very unusual in the college store industry to separate books and supplies from clothing and gifts, attribute the reason for the move to an effort to create a more “college store” feel for alumni, parents and other campus visitors.

“The people who are looking for a Catamount souvenir aren't necessarily the same people who are looking for a physics textbook,” said Rick Nicholson, director of auxiliary services at Western. “By splitting the non-textbook items into their own space, we'll be able to offer a wider array of gifts, souvenirs and similar merchandise in a more attractive space, and be open for extended hours as well. At the same time, we also will be creating more space for books and school supplies in the original bookstore.”

The additional space in the original store also will enable Western's textbook rental program to become a self-service operation.

Much of the bookstore's earnings go toward student scholarships at Western, with thousands of dollars generated every year for scholarship assistance, said Pam Degraffenreid, bookstore manager.

For more information about the new gift shop, call (828) 227-7626 or toll-free (866) 272-4102.

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Last modified: Friday, May 28, 2004
Copyright 2003 by Western Carolina University