Entrepreneurial Students at Concord Report Profit Of 57 Percent in “Book Buy Back”: President Honors Student’s Spirit

For Immediate Release: 
Feb 11 2004

Entrepreneurial Students at Concord Report Profit Of 57 Percent in “Book Buy Back”: President Honors Student’s Spirit

Athens, W. Va. – Most of us will fondly remember our high school and college days, and our association with extracurricular organizations or clubs which provided an “education” that quite often augmented lessons learned in the classroom.

Many business majors at Concord College belong to “Phi Beta Lambda” (PBL), the collegiate version of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), a business club for high school students. Fundraising is an integral part of most clubs or organizations, so that students can meet the goals they have set. “Our students’ ‘utopian’ ideal and aim is to spend less time fundraising and more time on activities,” stated Derrick Browning, president of PBL at Concord.

Four years ago, PBL decided to invest the club’s funds and member’s efforts and dollars in what was initially a risky venture. PBL introduced a “book buy back” project with the goal of raising money on campus in a way that would provide a much-needed service to students.

At the end of a semester, a student’s only option typically is to sell his or her books to the College’s Book Store. If textbooks happened to change, then the student would be stuck with a book he or she no longer needed, and no options for selling the book in a convenient manner.

PBL began to buy books from students, initially selling them to a wholesale book buyer. The owner of the company actually developed his business based on his interest in the book business when he was a college student. The buyer sold PBL a “UPC scanner” which facilitated the cost estimating process, saving students time in the process and allowing the club members to quote prices within seconds, reducing turn-around time and improving customer service.

“Our early procedures and processes were producing good returns each semester, with average profits of about $1,000,” stated Mr. Browning. The club wanted to improve their margin, however, and decided to start selling the books themselves online.

The revised structure of the process meant that the students had to borrow money to finance their fundraising objectives. Now the club writes a business plan under the tutelage of faculty members, and approaches local banks for financing. Two of PBL’s officers must sign the bank loan documents, along with the club’s sponsor.

Under the revised business plan, the club has increased their profits to nearly $4,500, or an increase of 350 percent over previous year’s efforts. The club nets approximately 57 percent profit on one semester’s book buy back.

What will PBL do with their hard-earned profits? As “shareholders,” they will travel abroad and visit international businesses.

Members and sponsors of PBL sort, categorize, and evaluate the books for resale. Accounting students develop profit/loss analyses and cost considerations, marketing majors advertise the event, and finance and management majors develop a business and finance plan.

“The College’s Book Store had an inventory of more than 1,000 out-of-date books that were ready for disposal. We asked for the books, and currently, more than 50 percent have been sold,” stated Dr. Boggess, PBL sponsor and chair for the College’s business division.

“We are so very proud of our students,” she continued. “They are applying the concepts they learn in the classroom and then they receive rewards for their efforts—a perfect learning scenario as far as I’m concerned.”

The following students, listed by hometown, were involved in the project (all hometowns in West Virginia, except Bulgaria):

BLUEFIELD-Brian Roberts (management)

CANNELTON-Christy Elliott (management)

FLAT TOP-Paula Dunn (management, finance)

IAEGER-Justina Mullins (undecided)

LINDSIDE-Robin Goodman (accounting)

PETERSTOWN-PBL Secretary Shawna McCroskey (management)

PINEVILLE-PBL President Derrick Browning (accounting, finance)

PRINCETON-Eve Bowling (marketing); Lynsey Dooley (accounting)

RONCEVERTE-Michelle Shafer (accounting)

ST. ALBANS-Lori Gunno (marketing)

BULGARIA-Iordan Atanassov (accounting, finance); PBL Vice President Alex Chernev (accounting); Dimitar Peykov (management, computer information systems); Nikolay Peykov (accounting)

Co-sponsors for PBL are Business Division Chair and Associate Professor, Dr. Kendra Boggess; and Associate Professor, Dr. Susan Robinett.


Concord College President Jerry L. Beasley hosted a luncheon, Wednesday, February 11, to honor the efforts and achievements of the students.

President Beasley said, “This represents the essence of what we want to support with our new Entrepreneurial Studies Program. It is our hope that in future years there will be similar efforts that will help this part of West Virginia.”

The students presented a slide presentation on the book buy back process to Dr. Beasley, faculty members and college administrators, and representatives from the Shott Foundation and area businesses. They also presented a check for $10,000 to Greg Shupe, a representative from First Century Bank, repaying the business loan for last semester’s efforts.

Faculty members Dr. Boggess and Dr. Robinett presented certificates to the students, recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of the club members.

On a related note, the Bluefield-based Hugh Ike Shott Jr. Foundation and the Katharine B. Tierney Charitable Foundation provides support for an “Entrepreneurial Studies Program” that the College recently launched. The Program will encourage similar ventures.

For information on the Entrepreneurial Studies Program call 1-888-384-5249 or 1-304-384-5248 or e-mail entrepreneur@concord.edu.


PHOTO: Dr. Kendra Boggess (left) and Dr. Susan Robinett (right) present a certificate of appreciation to First Century Bank representative Greg Shupe.

PHOTO: Concord students Lori Gunno and Derrick Browning (left), and Christy Elliott (right), present a check to First Century Bank representative Greg Shupe.

PHOTO: Members of Phi Beta Lambda