South Florida State College celebrated the grand opening of its new bookstore Monday, with a ribbon-cutting officiated by SFSC’s trustees, as employees, and a few confused students, looked on from the store’s crowded aisles.

The store still occupies the same space in the Cornelius P. Cornelius Student Services Building on the Highlands Campus but it underwent a major renovation and change in management.

“The students and employees are just loving it,” said Christine Andrewski, the store’s manager. “They tell me they enjoy the completely revamped look and feel of the campus store.”

Ribbon Cutting  bookstore

SFSC Trustees, from left: Joe Wright, Lana C. Puckorius and Derren J. Bryan at the ribbon cutting ceremony Monday for the grand opening of the campus’s new bookstore.

Andrewski added that patrons say they like the expanded variety of SFSC-branded apparel, the addition of a coffee bar, and an inviting layout that includes seating.

As part of SFSC president Thomas C. Leitzel’s institution-wide drive to enhance student experience and engagement, the college’s district board of trustees approved a request for proposals last May seeking a new operator for the bookstore.

The Follett Corporation won the competition to operate what is now known as the “campus store.” It immediately installed new management and embarked on a major renovation of the store’s interiors.

Now, students, SFSC employees, and members of the community can shop while sipping Starbucks coffee in a brilliantly lighted store with walls emblazoned with large student-oriented photographs.

Visitors to the campus store will find mannequins modeling SFSC hoodies that, along with other apparel, are reduced 25 percent until Aug. 20. The campus store will hold a student-focused discount on Aug. 27, when apparel will be reduced 20 percent.

As college employees joined the trustees and Follett employees for the ribbon cutting that included cake and coffee, a few students trickled in to buy their books before the start of classes on Monday.

The campus store will remain open for extended hours until Aug. 29, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.

Follett is higher education’s largest bookseller and retailer of college apparel, with 1,200 campus stores and more than 1,600 virtual stores nationwide. Follett also offers an online service—accessible through SFSC’s website– that allows students and the public to purchase books and apparel through the Web.