The Oberlin Co-op Bookstore is attempting to decrease a projected $193,000 total debt for the upcoming year by hiring a new financial consultant.
The new consultant group, College University Bookstore Partnering Concept (CUBPaC) is a consulting firm specifically geared towards college stores. It is a smaller division of a larger corporation, Business Management Concepts (BMC), a Baltimore-based firm which helps small businesses improve their operations.
Most of the Co-op's financial problems stem from the construction of its new building in 1992. The building has a third more space and houses enough extra merchandise to contribute significantly to its growing debt.
According to the Cooperator, a Co-op newsletter, the Co-op signed a five year contract with CUBPaC which in the long run will "allow the Co-op to pay its short term debts and invest in equipment necessary to improve situations. It will also give the skills and expertise to allow the business to survive in difficult business environment."
Allison Meyer said about the Co-op's current position, "We are not selling or being sold." The Co-op will be owned by the same members as before but will have CUBPaC, a new financial consulting group, assisting them with business investment.
BMC will pay for approximately $500,000 for store merchandise items in an attempt to aid the Co-op in better business management. BMC says they "guarantee" an increased profit by the end of the five years. BMC's pay is dependent upon the amount of profit the Co-op receives with their aid.
During the five year period the Co-op may drop out at any time. According to the contract, "The partnership can be terminated at any time, but the Co-op would have to come up with the money to buy back the inventory form CUBPaC."
The Co-op has traditionally held fundraisers and charitable events with the town and student communities. Last year the Co-op attempted to decrease debt through fundraising but the efforts were not enough to payoff the debts.
At the end of the five years the Co-op expects to be out of personal debt along with the ability to buy back the remaining inventory from BMC.
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 24, May 22, 1998
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