Tempe campus bookstore closing after 49 years

Window art declares the “End of an Era” at the Student Book Center in Tempe. (Photo by Anna Copper/Cronkite News)

TEMPE – For nearly 50 years, Arizona State University students have stopped at a Tempe bookstore to pick up school supplies. But the decades-long tradition will soon come to an end.

The Student Book Center will shut down on May 31, mourned by current and longtime customers.

“This is actually the first place me and my family came to tour at ASU,” said student Alison Lee. “I am kind of sad.”

Thirty years ago as an ASU freshman, Sherry Woodley started shopping at the bookstore, which also carries T-shirts and other gifts. She became a loyal customer.

“It’s always easy to find what are you looking for,” Woodley said. “People are really nice here.”

Store manager Therese Stohlgren said the lease to the property the store sits on was sold. Items in the store are being heavily discounted as workers try to clear the store of merchandise now tinged with nostalgia.

Joann Keller, who opened the store in 1967 with her husband, Francis, talked about a store where employees were close.

“It’s wonderful to have so many good friends. Everybody who works here is my friend,” Joann Keller said. “I am very sad about not being in business longer. I wish we could stay, but we can’t.”

Three generations of family managed the store, according to its website. Saleswoman Christi Johnson enjoyed working alongside family.

“I see my cousin everyday, we work together every day,” Johnson said. “You know you grow up together and I am going to miss that.”

Keller said she may open the shop somewhere else but there are no firm plans to do so.

“It’s a shame, a institution has been here for so long,” Woodley said “I guess it’s progress.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.