CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The University of Northern Iowa is trying to purchase a local business that has been selling and renting textbooks and classroom materials to its students for nearly 80 years.
The Iowa Board of Regents is expected to vote Wednesday on the university’s request to buy the University Book & Supply Inc. in Cedar Falls for $2.4 million, in addition to inventory costs, reported the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier . The store is the only bookstore near campus, and textbook sales make up 60 percent of its business.
“We’ve been fortunate that at the University of Northern Iowa we’ve been the sole bookstore,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of the business. “We’ve taken pride in that.”
The university’s situation is unique. Iowa State University and the University of Iowa own and operate bookstores on their campuses.
The University of Northern Iowa has been working with store owners to reach an agreement for several months, according to Johnson.
Johnson is one of the store’s largest shareholders, along with Kathleen Hesse. Johnson said they started looking at sale options because they’re nearing retirement and the other stockholders are unwilling to buy them out.
“It was really coming to light the university might be interested,” Johnson said. “We approached them with the idea.”
Michael Hager, the university’s senior vice president for finance and operations, said the school would operate the bookstore as a nonprofit in order to reduce prices for students.
“Taking advantage of this opportunity is another element of the ongoing UNI initiative of providing high-quality education at a reasonable cost,” Hager said in a news release.
University officials anticipate a complete transaction by March.