For nearly 50 years, Arizona State University students have stopped at a Tempe bookstore to pick up school supplies. But the decades-long tradition will soon come to an end.
The Student Book Center will shut down on May 31, mourned by current and longtime customers.
“This is actually the first place me and my family came to tour at ASU,” said student Alison Lee. “I am kind of sad.”
Thirty years ago as an ASU freshman, Sherry Woodley started shopping at the bookstore, which also carries T-shirts and other gifts. She became a loyal customer.
“It’s always easy to find what are you looking for,” Woodley said. “People are really nice here.”
Store manager Therese Stohlgren said the lease to the property the store sits on was sold. Items in the store are being heavily discounted as workers try to clear the store of merchandise now tinged with nostalgia.
Joann Keller, who opened the store in 1967 with her husband, Francis, talked about a store where employees were close.
“It’s wonderful to have so many good friends. Everybody who works here is my friend,” Joann Keller said. “I am very sad about not being in business longer. I wish we could stay, but we can’t.”
Three generations of family managed the store, according to its website. Saleswoman Christi Johnson enjoyed working alongside family.
“I see my cousin everyday, we work together every day,” Johnson said. “You know you grow up together, and I am going to miss that.”
Keller said she may open the shop somewhere else but there are no firm plans to do so.
“It’s a shame, a institution has been here for so long,” Woodley said “I guess it’s progress.”
‘With a heavy heart’
“It is with a heavy heart that I am letting you know that come May we are closing our doors. The unfortunate news came to us late last week. The owners of our building decided to sell to a property developer. The developer had previously bought the building next to us where Campus Corner used to be. Over the next few years they plan on tearing everything down and building a new student housing and retail building. There is talk that we may decide to open a new location in this new building, but that is still a few years away.
“The Student Book Center was opened in 1967 by my Grandparents and it has truly been a pleasure working here and being a part of that legacy. I started working in High School and had imagined my daughter would be growing up at the store as well. It is a huge accomplishment to have been in business for 49 years, and managed by 3 different generations. I am very proud and honored to have been a part of it. Vendors and customers have become more than that, they have become friends and family, and it is quite hard having to say goodbye. But all good books come to an end, even if you delay reading that last page for a while.”