Catamount Store, one year later

    A year later, the Bookstore’s downtown venture is proving its worth. Since opening on Church Street on Aug. 24, the Catamount Store has brought in $438,000, with athletic gear such as hockey and basketball jerseys netting a large portion of the profit, according to a press release. A fiscal report showed that sales exceeded projections by five percent over a 10-month period, University Communications stated. Initially designed to give the University a greater presence off campus, the 2,300-square-foot space has been particularly successful because of the different clientele it attracts from the store’s flagship location in the Dudley H. Davis Center, general manager Jay Menninger said.  “We wanted to expose more people to UVM products, but the Davis Center is designed for students, not tourists,” Menninger said. “The Catamount Store on Church Street is open on weekends and evenings, and it’s usually easier to find parking.” Tourists visiting the Burlington area are more likely to flock to the Church Street location to find UVM gear, as well as people who may have a hard time finding the bookstore in the Davis Center, he said. The back room, which features refurbished Gutterson lockers taken from the men’s locker room in collaboration with UVM Athletics, has been a large part of the Catamount Store’s success, Menninger said. Athletic apparel and signed memorabilia pay homage to some of UVM’s more recognized athletes, and the display has become a major focal point of the store, he said. While there was some worry that the expansion downtown would hurt sales from the original store, it turns out the competition has been more friendly than fierce, Menninger said. Sales figures for the UVM Bookstore and online have shown steady profits around $2 million in apparel and other products, mitigating much of the concern about dueling locations. “Downtown Burlington is a destination point for many people visiting Vermont, and the Catamount Store really allows us to capitalize on that” Menninger said. “In the one year that it’s been open I haven’t received a single negative response. The community support has been overwhelmingly positive.” Some students said they have noticed a definite upswing in the on-campus Bookstore in the past year. “I think the UVM Bookstore is well-run and a great place to get materials, but I rarely go to the one on Church St,” junior Rigel Garrison-Boxford said. “Most of my time is spent on campus, so if I need books it’s inconvenient to walk downtown.” Other students said they view the downtown store as the latest step in UVM culture taking over downtown Burlington. “I’ve been to the Catamount Store and I like it, but it’s almost as if UVM owns Burlington,” first-year Kathryn Meader said. “I mean, you see the word ‘catamount’ everywhere.”