Bookshoppe welcomes new manager

Returning to the Follett Company she worked at to put herself through college, Julia Asquith (left) took over as University Bookshoppe manager last month. While she says the transition from San Francisco to Southern California has been difficult, she credits Monique Yamamoto (right), textbook coordinator, and her fellow Bookshoppe employees in making her feel at home in La Verne. / photo by Rosie Sinapi
Returning to the Follett Company she worked at to put herself through college, Julia Asquith (left) took over as University Bookshoppe manager last month. While she says the transition from San Francisco to Southern California has been difficult, she credits Monique Yamamoto (right), textbook coordinator, and her fellow Bookshoppe employees in making her feel at home in La Verne. / photo by Rosie Sinapi

by Cherryl F. Cercado
Editorial Assistant

With a hope for a change and a desire to be part of an academic atmosphere, Julia Asquith began as the University Bookshoppe manager on Jan. 2.

Asquith, whose father is the west coast zone manager, grew up with the Follett Company, which operates the store.

“I knew that it was a great company to work for and since I have a family of my own, I knew that the company was very family oriented, and so I knew that it was a company that I wanted to get involved in,” she said.

Asquith who “fell into retail” after graduating from San Francisco State University, worked for the Macys/ Bullocks corporation before taking her current job. She said that the main difference between working for a department store and a college bookstore are the customers and the type of stress.

“Although it’s the same concept that we’re here as a business and that we’re here to make money and we’re here to offer a service, it’s still very different,” she said. “Being in a department store environment is very, very stressful. The stress is absolutely incredible and the expectations in terms of the hours you put in and sacrificing your personal life is incredible.

“The customer [in the department store] is a little bit different. It’s not as loyal. Here we can capture the customer all year round by offering a little extra. There’s more time to spend with the customer one-on-one,” said Asquith.

The “little extra” that Asquith is referring to includes being honest with students and taking the opportunity to ask for feedback on the store’s performance. She is looking forward to making the store more exciting for students by “offering great customer service, by offering what they want and by being involved with on-campus activities.”

“She’s great, she really is,” said Monique Yamamoto, textbook coordinator. “She’s had lots of experience dealing with people and she’ll do her best to help accommodate students and faculty with their needs.”

How does Asquith respond when hearing complaints from students regarding the high cost of books?

“I try to be honest and up-front,” said Asquith. “The other day I told a student that even I couldn’t believe how high the cost of one particular book was.”

She then proceeded to tell the student the publisher’s price and admit to him the bookstore’s mark-up price. Asquith knows that the prices of books are high to begin with.

“One thing I do know is that our mark-up is pretty much a standard throughout the university system, throughout the entire country,” she said.

The thing to keep in mind, Asquith said, is that both the publisher and the bookstore are present to make money and are not trying to cheat anyone.

And the mark-up price?

“It depends,” said Asquith. “It depends on the subject matter, it depends if it’s made by the graphics company here at school, if it’s duplicated. But, it’s usually a standard of 20 percent, which is about the average.”

Asquith said the only drawback to her new position is the 11-day training period she received, in comparison to the usual three months. She said it was both a disadvantage and a challenge.

“All the training in the world, sometimes, doesn’t prepare you for what actually happens. But, I’m very happy to be here.”

Cherryl F. Cercado, Editorial Assistant
Cherryl F. Cercado
Rosie Sinapi, Editor in Chief
Rosie Sinapi

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