Though the Highlander has been open for business in its new location since last semester, Wednesday marked the official grand opening of the campus store. The event, which lasted most of the day, featured a number of prizes and activities to draw students, faculty and community members into the new space. There was a series of raffle drawings throughout the day to win a number of prizes, including a bicycle. Store manager Debbie Morrison said that there was a good turnout.
The Highlander, which was previously located in the Campus Center, is now located across Snelling Ave from the Institute for Global Citizenship in the Lambert building. The previously independent store is now run by Follett Corporation, the largest operator of college bookstores in the U.S., with more than 800 locations across the country.
The new Highlander aims to support local vendors and products made with fair labor practices by selling products from Izzy’s Ice Cream, a local St. Paul creamery, and Alta Garcia, an apparel company from the Dominican Republic that pays its garment workers a living wage.
The store’s interest in local businesses was also evident in the day’s raffle prizes and refreshments, which included samples from Izzy’s. Common Good Books provided gift certificates and a local bike store helped assemble the grand prize bicycle, sweetening the deal by providing a discount on cycling accessories.
Perhaps the most notable change in the new Highlander is the availability of textbooks. Not only are both new and used textbooks available for purchase, but the store now also offers the option to rent physical or digital copies of many texts as well. Students will be able to utilize textbook buyback on a daily basis, though peak times will still be at the end of semesters.
The store aims to address the needs of the campus community in addition to the neighborhood as a whole. Many items in the store are also available for purchase online for alumni living outside of the Twin Cities. In the future, the store hopes to coordinate apparel needs with the athletic department and partner with on-campus organizations to provide gift cards as prizes at events.