January 25, 2010

Kraftees Bookstore Provides Limo Service for Customers

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A giant hummer limo driving through North Campus during the heat of rush week might cause some wild speculation and provoke a few lurid fantasies. Over the past few days, a Kraftees rental serving Cornell students revolutionized the common perception of how limos are used — replacing parties with planners, strippers with syllabi and booze with books.

The textbook store Kraftees, in operation since 2002, commissioned the limo for the first time this year to provide free transportation to their customers on North and West Campus to its store location in Collegetown before the start of classes.

Kraftees’ store manager Christopher Cave said that the “textbook limo” was part of the store’s mission to “create the most convenient way possible” to buy textbooks. He said that for students on North or West campus, the far walk to Collegetown could be exacerbated by the rough winter weather and often heavy book load, draining Kraftees’ valuable customer pool.

Although the weather remained uncharacteristically mild for Ithaca this past week, Cave heralded the limo as a marketing success, saying that the store’s expectation for “a couple of hundred riders” was met.

Cave said that Kraftees had been devising this plan for years, but finally went through with it this year because the limo was “not an inordinate” price.

He added that the store will “definitely keep [the limo] going” in upcoming years. Cave speculated that the number of riders will continue to grow as word of the limo spreads. Not all students, however, enjoyed what Cave deemed the “flashier” textbook buying experience.

Matt Truesdail ’13 was disappointed with the overall experience. “To be honest, it wasn’t really that [cool]…just some crappy rap music playing really loud…The limo just had all of these little lights and colorful things that seemed incredibly juvenile.”

Truesdail explained that despite the gratuitous limo ride, in the end, he did not buy his books at Kraftees. “Ultimately, it comes down to price,” so although the limo was a “good idea,” it would not majorly influence his textbook buying.

It “seemed like there was a catch [to the limo],” added Krystal Crespo ’11. Although Crespo had already purchased her books and thus did not ride the limo, she insisted that the limo sounded “sketchy,” and implied that its cost would somehow come back to the consumer.

Yet, Cave maintains that Kraftees’ ability and decision to rent a limo for its customers is unrelated to the cost of its textbooks. When compared with most stores, “our books are cheaper used to used and new to new,” Cave said, because “[Kraftees] doesn’t work with as high of a markup.”

Although a Daily Sun article in September chronicled the uncertain state of the textbook industry under siege from online marketers, according to Cave, Kraftees still plans to become “an important part of the Cornell com­munity…for the long haul.” Cave added that sites such as Amazon.com could not match the convenience Kraftees provided by driving customers to and from their textbook store. He added that although one can “sometimes find a good deal” online, the internet can not provide the security or dependability of Kraftees or the Cornell Store.

Cave cited Kraftees’ rising profits over the past two semesters as proof that Kraftees is becoming a fixture for Cornell students.

“Everything’s up,” he said. Perhaps the limo, and all of its glory, will join the Cornell community as well.

Original Author: Jeff Stein