As part of campus-wide renovation and modernization efforts, the University of Richmond bookstore has rebranded as the SpiderShop.
The bookstore had normal "wear and tear" and its time for renovation had come, said Dee Hardy, associate vice president for Campus Services.
The decision to rebrand came after alumni, staff members, students and visitors gave feedback saying the old bookstore was dated, Hardy said.
“It wasn’t making the impression we wanted it to make," Hardy said. "It wasn’t welcoming."
For years, the official name of the campus bookstore was "The UR Bookstore and SpiderShop.” The idea to drop the "bookstore" part of the name came from examining other campus stores, particularly those in the Atlantic 10 athletic conference, Hardy said.
“We went out and looked at what they named their school stores, what they looked like, how they branded them, and came back with all kinds of things,” Hardy said.
The SpiderShop name was decided on after positive feedback from focus groups consisting of students, alumni and faculty members, Hardy said.
“It’s a dated thing to call it a university bookstore," she said. "Schools are moving toward spirit shops because they're a lot more than books. I think it’s a unique way of adding to the branding of the university.”
Campus tour guides are also being advised to refer to the bookstore as the SpiderShop, said sophomore tour guides Kevin Villagomez and Katherine Peterson.
The centerpiece of the renovation is a large spider projection outside the entrance to the bookstore. The projection was settled on after a long decision-making process involving several departments, Hardy said. Several ideas, such as moving the entrance of the store, were discussed before the projection won out.
The SpiderShop uses similar projections at many special events on campus, which factored into the decision to install one at the store itself, Hardy said.
“We were looking for a way for people to say, ‘This is the entrance to the bookstore,'" Hardy said.
The rebranding also brings a new trailer, which the store uses to sell merchandise at sporting events, as well as an overhaul of the SpiderShop website, Hardy said.
The renovations are being paid for by an auxiliary fund set aside by the university, Hardy said.
Student opinion of the bookstore has been mainly positive. Sophomore Drew Griffin said the renovations made the store seem more open, but fellow sophomore Mitchell Garvey admitted that he had not noticed a difference.
“One of the things we were trying to do was to make sure students understood that we’re trying to make it more welcoming for you,” Hardy said.
The SpiderShop welcomes any and all feedback as it looks to create that environment, Hardy said.
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