Last summer, Iron City Bookstore decided to close its doors. However, on Oct. 15, Tim Weingarten, former general manager of Iron City, decided to open a new college textbook store on Washington Street.
“Iron City was a great place to work, and a good business to be in,” said Weingarten, “I’m taking all that I learned and expanding on it.”
Weingarten said he did not want to comment on why Iron City shut down. The new college textbook store, Students First, is located at 502 W. Washington St.
“It is a college store run by college students,” Weingarten said. “It takes an effort for students to drive here from campus – we want them to have the best experience.”
Combined, Weingarten and his three staff members have over 10 years of experience with textbooks, he said.
“A small staff is good, because it keeps costs down and we can pay more attention to students,” said Weingarten.
Students First will be selling and buying back textbooks from students.
The service will still be the same as Iron City, as well as trying to make their prices the lowest in town, Weingarten said.
“Our prices are going to be competitive,” he said. “Our main goal is customer service- we want to make sure when a student leaves here, they are happy.”
Students have expressed that they were upset about the prices of used textbooks at the NMU Bookstore, and he is here to give students a choice, he said. As far as advertising goes, Weingarten said word of mouth is one way he spreads news about his new store..
“We are encouraging students to tell their friends about us. We hope that students will shop around and come to the places that give them the best price,” said Weingarten.
NMU bookstore, however, believes that they are the one universal bookstore that meets each and every student’s needs, said Paul Wright, assistant bookstore manager.
“The biggest thing is that we offer NMU students all the books they need. There’s only one place they need to come and that’s the NMU Bookstore,” Wright said. “If an instructor picks a book that comes from South Africa we are going to have it on our shelves. We are really the one place in town, or one place in the world you need to shop.”
However, there is some skepticism about off-campus bookstores, added Weingarten. “The downside is that students sometimes assume we will give them the wrong books, or old editions. But all of our information comes right from Northern,” said Weingarten.
Samantha Gray, a junior English major, said she was disappointed when Iron City shut down.
“I am an avid fan of records and Iron City was the only place I was able to purchase them, “said Gray. “The books at Iron City were reasonably priced and the service was always excellent. I hate fighting the crowd at Northern’s bookstore and I’m never really sure if they will have the books I need,” Gray said.
Joelle Johns, a history and secondary education major, has an opposing opinion about Iron City.
“For awhile I liked it, but then when I started getting more random 300 level classes they would never have my books in on time, or at all,” Johns said. “If they can only give me two out of the 16 required books for my classes and they still don’t have any in when the semester’s started then I’m obviously going to go to NMU’s bookstore or buy them off of Amazon,” said Johns.
Students First is planning to host a grand opening in August 2008 instead of this January.
“We need time to plan it out, and we want to do it right,” Weingarten said. “It is going to be a celebration that will spill out into our parking lot, which wouldn’t be much fun with snow. We hope to set up tables at orientation – it’s the only way to reach out to the incoming freshmen.” Weingarten said he will be selling books for all classes at Northern, starting in January at the beginning of the winter semester.
Editor’s Note: Ashley Berken, assistant news editor, contributed to this article.