2013 Award Winner

The Forty-Niner Shops Bookstore at California State University, Long Beach 

The Winning Submission- Executive Summary

Below is the Executive Summary submitted by the Forty-Niner Shops Bookstore for consideration. If you would like additional information on this or any of the stores that made the Honor Roll, please be sure and let us know.


The University And Our Role
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is a diverse, student-centered, globally-engaged public university committed to providing highly-valued undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities through superior teaching, research, creative activity and service. The campus is organized into eight colleges:

  • College of the Arts College of Health & Human Services
  • College of Liberal Arts College of Business Administration
  • College of Education College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • College of Engineering College of Continuing & Professional Education

For several years, CSULB has been designated one of the best colleges in the West by The Princeton Review. Currently CSULB has more than 36,000 students, nearly 2,000 faculty, and 1,600 professional staff members.

The Forty-Niner Shops, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation that has been a partner to the CSULB campus for over 55 years. The Shops mission is to enhance and support the educational process of CSULB by providing goods and services to promote a learning community.

The Forty-Niner Shops Bookstore is a division of the Forty-Niner Shops, Inc. and employs 180 student employees and 22 staff employees on a permanent basis and an additional 160 student employees during rush periods. The Bookstore provides goods and services to the campus through our main bookstore, Art Store, Computer Store, The Beach on Second Street Store, ID Card Services, and the Campus Copy Center. Combined, these retail locations generate total gross revenue of nearly $16 million dollars annually.

Customer Commitment
The Bookstore is committed to offering students their necessary course materials at the lowest possible prices. The Bookstore offers course materials in an array of affordable choices including rentals. This past fall semester we rented over 23,000 textbooks. We offer over 175 loose-leaf titles. We have expanded our custom course materials to over 125 titles specific to CSULB instructors. We have an affiliate partnership with Follett for additional rental titles not available in store.

Other affordable textbook programs include the Affordable Learning Solutions from the California State University Chancellor’s office, Textbook Swap and digital offerings.

Academic Support
The Forty-Niner Shops mission of academic support is provided by the Bookstore’s many programs and services. These include the Bowling for Books scholarship fundraiser, the Faculty Information Fair, the Information Exchange Luncheon, and our Faculty Resource Page.

Campus Connection
As a partner to the University, the Bookstore is committed to supporting various campus initiatives and events. The Bookstore has enjoyed a decade’s long relationship with the Athletics Department and the Beach Alumni Association. We have shown our commitment to the campus “green initiative” by protecting the environment and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Shopping Experience
Our goal is to provide an enjoyable shopping experience to the campus community through various events such as the annual Alumni, Faculty, Staff Holiday Open House, celebrating National Student Day, and our Dorm Move-In extravaganza.

Workplace Culture
The Forty-Niner Shops Bookstore strives to enrich employees’ successes and enhance their workplace experience for their current positions and future careers. Contributing to employee development are the Forty-Niner Shops Student Employee Scholarship Program and our Leadership Training program. Recognizing their achievements are the employee recognition program, “Bravo Awards”, and our employee Graduate Luncheon.

The Bookstore ensures profitability and accountability by continuously exploring new and innovative ways of selling our products, increasing our product lines and reducing operating expenses. We have recently partnered with RMSA Retail Solutions to increase cash flow, inventory turns, and gross margin return on investment (GMROI). We strive to increase gross margin through collegiate retail buying programs. We utilize various financial reports to support the use of appropriate performance measures.

Participation in the NACS financial webinars and on-line courses educate and improve our financial analysis. Continual monitoring of shipping costs and other operating expenses help us maintain our bottom line.

Our online presence has vastly expanded beyond the CSULB campus and traditional course materials. We now have the ability to reach customers globally and sell products that provide additional revenue streams to help support the Bookstore’s financial outcome.

We sell on 25 different market place sites, which resulted in over 17,000 orders last year. We also have innovative pricing strategies to ensure that our prices are competitive with the market while providing sufficient profitability.

Our almost 60 years of dedication to CSULB is a testament to our commitments to customers, support of the academic process, our many campus relationships, the strong belief in our workplace culture, and our financial stability.