Union closes book on Varney’s deal

By Bryan Richardson

Varney’s Bookstore is out as the bookstore operator at the K-State Union.

Follett Higher Education Group Inc., which manages more than 930 bookstores nationwide, will become the bookstore operator at the K-State Student Union starting July 1.

“Basically, it was based on what we felt was best for the university,” said Bill Smriga, K-State union director.

Thursday’s announcement that Follett will be the new bookstore operator ends an 11-year business venture between Varney’s and the union. Varney’s began operating in the union in 2002, lasting through a 10-year contract and a one-year extension.

Steve Levin of Varney’s said he is sadden by the development with the union, but Varney’s has a 123-year history with K-State.

“Before, during and now after this partnership, we’ve been the partner with other K-State institutions such as the Gardens, McCain, athletics and other groups,” he said.

Smriga said he couldn’t discuss any particular aspect of what Follett plans to do as contract negotiations will now be ongoing. He said the plan is to have the negotiations done no later than May 1.

“We hope to move forward as quickly as possible, but this usually takes some time,” he said.

Follett operates bookstores on campuses nation-wide, including at KSU-Salina. Other Kansas sites are Baker University in Baldwin City, Fort Hays State University, Friends University in Wichita, and Fort Scott, Garden City and Pratt community colleges.

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