Bethany’s campus bookstore has been a mainstay in Old Main for almost 100 years. “The Bookstore” first opened in 1920 when the institution was still called Bethany Ladies College. While the store primarily serves the needs of the students at BLC, it also doubles as a Christian book and supply store, and is the occasional publishing outlet for the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
While the bookstore has been operating for nearly a century, like so many bricks and mortar retail businesses, it recently needed to adapt to a changing retail landscape. Online shopping has changed the way students purchase textbooks and supplies. It’s not that the students aren’t using textbooks, but rather, they are able to order their books online more easily. Consequently, the bookstore no longer stocks course materials on store shelves. But, through a partnership with eCampus, Bethany students have the option of ordering textbooks through the online partner. The process couldn’t be easier. The books, ordered by the student, are delivered to the store and are ready when students arrive on campus each semester.
So, as the retail textbook business changes, the items offered at the Bethany Bookstore does as well. The store now focuses its product line on Bethany apparel and insignia items, as well as Christian books and gifts. Recently, the store took on an updated look under new manager Dan Gerdts. Under Gerdts’ watch, the textbook section of the store was removed and attractive new shelving for Christian books and gift items was installed, and the apparel section of the store was expanded. The beautiful, new shelving was designed and built by Joel Grunke of Fairfax, Minnesota. Grunke is the father of two Bethany alumni, Michael (’12) and Megan (’15).
Gerdts say the reaction of returning students has been very positive. “They love it. Some have said ‘I feel like I can spend time in here, it’s so open and welcoming!’”
The Bethany Bookstore is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and some merchandise is available online.