Editorial: Good books, bad coffee

It has been nearly a month since the new Barnes & Noble opened its doors, and students have had a chance to visit the new store and evaluate it. It seems that students are more than satisfied with the bookstore – and less than satisfied with the Starbucks inside.

Most students agree the Barnes & Noble is vastly more aesthetically appealing than the old bookstore. The snazzy modern design is sure to attract attention from prospective students, giving CWRU more curb appeal, so to speak. It will help CWRU market itself as a modern, progressive, hip university. The décor – including photographs of campus buildings, CWRU colors, and frequent usage of the logo – is also very appealing and will promote marketing.

The new layout is also easier to navigate and find what you’re looking for, while offering the same selection if not better. The lower level is shared between CWRU paraphernalia, books for pleasure, and miscellaneous items; the second floor houses textbooks, binders, lab coats, and other school supplies.

The bookstore’s new location has received a mixed response from students. For those on Northside, it’s close to home, but for Southsiders it’s extremely inconvenient. This may become a problem come fall, when students have to lug their textbooks home from the bookstore. We would have preferred to see it in a more central location.

On the other hand, some students have pointed out that the new location better integrates the CWRU campus into the surrounding community and will contribute to University Circle in a way the old bookstore never did. And although the new location seems out of the way now, it may develop into a student hotspot because of the Barnes & Noble.

While we agree the Barnes & Noble will improve the university’s image, we were hoping to see the new store function more as a full Barnes and Noble. It still has the same weird hours as the old store; for instance, it’s closed on Sundays. And its prices are still unreasonably high.

The most common complaint about the new bookstore is the Starbucks. Students don’t understand why a Starbucks was incorporated into the new building when there are two other Starbucks within a three-block radius. They would rather see something else, especially something less mainstream. Now that the Silver Spartan is gone (replaced by yet another chain restaurant), CWRU has only the Spot, the Jolly Scholar, and Cramelot to call its own. Even the bookstore is a franchise. We would like to see more CWRU-unique food and drink offerings; this would promote school spirit and a stronger sense of tradition on campus.

Furthermore, the Starbucks staff seems generally rude and less than knowledgeable. We would like to see friendlier, better trained employees – after all, how does it reflect on our school if our bookstore’s coffee shop can’t even make a latte?

Overall, the Barnes & Noble is yet another example of the positive change that has been so prolific on the CWRU campus over the last few years. We are glad to see the school’s progressive outlook reflected in a refreshed bookstore. Hopefully students will be given an opportunity to provide feedback, in order to improve upon the new store even further.