No gift shop partner for Scobee

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Visitors can’t get souvenirs with their Scobee experience.

By Kyle R. Cotton

Scobee Education Center  File

Scobee Education Center File

With a full slate of events this Friday that are open to the general public, the Scobee Education Center would love to sell souvenirs to guests so they could have something to remember their visit.

However, the center currently has no gift shop despite plans to include one as part of its development and grand opening last semester.

“There is no agreement with any organization to run the gift shop,” said Rick Varner, director of the Scobee Education Center. “We’ve talked to the business department and the group that runs the bookstore, the Follett Corporation, but they weren’t interested.”

Varner said he thinks the lack of interest is partly because the center is only open to the public during events. It also has scheduled tours for schools throughout the week.

“We treat the center like a school so it’s a secure campus, and because of that our potential partners lost interest,” Varner said. “One of the issues of doing this is you can’t use state money when starting a business like this.”

Varner doesn’t expect the gift shop to be overly profitable, but rather something for visitors to buy souvenirs to remember their visit.

Varner said he envisions a small gift shop that’s open to the public on Fridays and during the school tours.

“A lot of youngsters come with their parents and the shop would be there so they could get a souvenir of their visit,” he said.

He added, “We would love to do something with the organizations on campus. We had a discussion with the business department to operate the store as a lab, but they were more interested in doing something like a work-study.”

Varner said the center is exploring leasing out the gift shop to an outside company, but he is still researching the regulations that would govern such a partnership.

For more information on the center, call 210-486-0100.


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