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CARBONDALE — After May 25, SIU Carbondale students will have just one brick and mortar bookstore to get textbooks for the semester.

In a Facebook post made Sunday, the day after graduation on campus, the store announced it was closing after more than 50 years.

“We want to thank all of Saluki Nation and Southern Illinois for your decades of support and allowing us to serve the needs of students, faculty, fans and the public,” the post says.

The store was purchased by Randy Johnson, and Dwayne and Kim Summers in 2014 after being sold by the original owners, Kennedy’s Books Inc. out of Lexington, Kentucky.

710 was the last bookseller operating off campus, leaving only University Bookstore in the SIU Student Center.

“You never want to see a business close in our community,” Tena Bennett, director of the Student Center, said Monday. She said the current owner of University Bookstore is textbook publisher Follett — they contracted with the university in 2013 to operate the store Bennett said.

In its third location in the last decade, 710 moved into the old water treatment plant near the SIU Rec Center last year. At the time, Johnson said the move from Saluki Plaza was to increase the business's offerings.

"The days of people just walking in the front door is just not realistic, so we want to be able to have activities and stuff going on, especially in the fall,” he told the Southern last May.

710 Bookstore moved into Saluki Plaza in April 2014 from its original, namesake location at 710 S. Illinois Ave. to make room for the Evolve apartment complex.

In his talk with The Southern in 2018, Johnson was optimistic about the new location in part because of the density of student housing nearby.

“We kind of like the location, because there’s an awful lot of student housing behind us. With the trend right now and the way things are going, we think it actually puts us in a little better situation in terms of that," he said.

Johnson has had a long history with 710 and community engagement. In 2012, he received Carbondale’s Chamber of Commerce President’s Award for community service. At the time, just the general manager of the shop, he said he felt blessed to have the freedom there to get involved with community events and scholarships.

On Facebook, there was an outpouring of support and well wishes in the comment section of the announcement, some broadly directed at the store but some to Johnson himself.

“Randy, thanks for ALL the trips you made north for events in Chicago, bringing an amazing abundance of SIU apparel and accessories each time,” one person wrote.

Another noted that 710 was interwoven in a lot of her coming of age memories in the 1960s.

“I first stepped into 710 in June 1969. I saw the windows smashed by bricks in May 1970. I bought the (Beatles’ Abbey) Road album at 710 when it was first released,” she wrote, adding that the 710 Bookstore calendars were always a favorite as well.

There is a large liquidation sale happening at the store. The closure announcement says everything, except textbooks, are 50 percent off. Students who still have outstanding book rentals and have questions about their return are asked to email the store at: seventen@seventen.com.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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