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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    FSA Closes Computer Corner

    After years of battling fierce competition and budget cuts, the Computer Corner is calling it quits. The on-campus store will close permanently on June 27.’ For many-particularly the shop’s employees-the news comes as no surprise.

    “We’d lost a lot of business from the departments cutting back on their expenses, which resulted from [Stony Brook] University’s budget cuts,” said James Mattern, general manager of Computer Corner.

    The cuts were especially devastating to the store’s profits because it depended heavily on orders coming in from various campus departments.

    “Computer Corner was self-supporting and relied on the purchase of institutional computers to offset the operating expenses, such as payroll,” said Kevin Kelly, executive director of FSA.

    Another factor contributing to the demise of the store was the lack of business coming from students.

    “The bulk of our business comes from the departments and demand from the students has always been weak,” Mattern said.

    When it comes to buying computer hardware and software, many students shun the on-campus store, saying they find it to be more expensive than off-campus stores like BestBuy.

    “I don’t buy from Computer Corner because online sites such as EBay and larger retail stores offer better prices,” said senior Monty Purkosesa, a biochemistry major.

    Mattern conceded that prices at Computer Corner are sometimes a little higher.’

    But, he added, “I always challenge the notion that Computer Corner is overpriced.”

    “I think retail stores in general are more expensive than online stores,” said Raymond Li, a computer science major.

    A price comparison of the top five best-selling items at the store shows that what Mattern claimed is mostly true. Among the five items compared, only one item was significantly overpriced at Computer Corner.’ A 10/100 PCI network card that can be purchased at BestBuy for $20 less, while Computer Corner charges X DOLLARS for the same item.’ The other four products were priced about equally.

    Stuudents automatically assume that Computer Corner, like the University Bookstore and Dining Services, is more expensive, but we offer support and service for the student’s entire four years on campus,” Mattern said.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

    Kelly said that the FSA received student feedback indicating that “customers understood that an operation which provides full service staffing and has significant sales only during seasonal (academic year) periods will have higher price points than discount retailers who do not provide on-site service.”

    This service, overpriced or not, will be scrapped by FSA due to losses totaling over $100,000 during the 2002 year. “I can’t afford to pay the people who work here because we are losing a lot of money,” Mattern said. Computer Corner hires about four full-time staff and four students who do everything from sales to delivery. ‘ ‘

    Perhaps the hardest hit by the closure are Stony Brook students who have limited access to off-campus venues.

    “Where else are students who can’t go off-campus supposed to get their computer wares?” asked Li.

    “The Campus Division of Information Technology is making arrangements for direct online sales of computers through manufacturers,” Kelly said. He added that Seawolves Market will sell some of the most popular computer peripherals.

    ‘ “Students who can’t get off campus can always try online computer stores,” Purkosesa said.

    Good news for Stony Brook students is a possible Computer Corner sale event.’ “We might have a store closing sale soon,” Mattern said.

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