The Computer Connection retail store, nestled in the second floor of the Penn Bookstore, will permanently close by June 30 after 35 years of operation.
While the store was able to adapt to decades of recent technology-retail market changes, a message from Marie Witt, Vice President of the University’s Division of Business Services, said the store will not survive massive impacts of tight margins, fewer product releases, and mass-marketing discounts offered by large retailers.
Barbara Lea-Kruger, Penn Business Services Director of Communications and External Relations, wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the closing is not related to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, she wrote, the decision was made after community input, institutional benchmarking, and market analysis.
The University was already discussing the future of the Computer Connection store before the start of the pandemic.
Witt's message emphasized the University’s commitment to providing technology needs and value-added services to the community. In the future, Witt wrote, the Penn Bookstore will expand its in-store inventory of computer supplies and that the Office of Software Licensing will most likely expand its service offerings as well.
The message also stated that Penn will continue to use its purchasing power and maintain its supplier relationships to support the the University's Schools and Centers. Services that support students, including computers given to the University’s financially-aided population and educational discount programs, will continue to exist.
Computer Connection Director Jeffrey Rusling sent an email about the closing to a University computing-oriented listserv on Thursday, in which he said all submitted orders for in-stock inventory will be fulfilled through June 30. In his message, he thanked customers for their support throughout the store’s years.
Before moving to the 50,000 square-foot Penn Bookstore on 36th and Walnut streets, Computer Connection was located in the University’s previous bookstore — where Huntsman Hall stands now.
The Bookstore currently houses a Starbucks cafe, apparel and office retail supplies, and a wide selection of textbooks.
Staff Reporter Amy Xiang contributed reporting.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.