A print shop called SBprinter.com recently opened its second location in the building that had been previously occupied by Isla Vista Bookstore for the last 47 years on Pardall Road.
The business, which offers a range of printing options including course readers, t-shirts and posters, first opened in Old Town Goleta — about a mile away from UCSB — two years ago. Upon hearing that the family owning the former I.V. Bookstore had retired the shop last October, owner Aaron Swaney jumped on the opportunity to expand his own business, setting his bookstore apart from others by combining it with his print shop.
Swaney said SBprinter.com aims to offer high-quality printing at the lowest cost and while the store includes many of the same services as the former bookstore, it has no affiliation with the company that owned it.
“The company that owns I.V. Bookstore, as I understand it, doesn’t exist anymore,” Swaney said. “So we bought out the product and now we’re kind of running the floor … everything is entirely new— [the previous owners] took the name with them.”
With I.V. as its new location, Swaney said the print shop and bookstore will be able to cater to the specific needs of UCSB students — beyond t-shirts, banners and wall murals.
“We print GauchoSpace stuff too, and we also print readers at half price,” Swaney said. “Same quality, same materials, but we cut the price in half … you can also drop off a reader any time, no questions asked, and we’ll pay to recycle it.”
According to Swaney, bookstores have been going out of business at an increasingly higher rate as more and more students buy books online instead of paying for print versions. In light of this trend, he said the bookstore is well-equipped to support students’ individual needs, providing online textbook sales, rentals and price comparison options.
Swaney hopes that his service will better provide students with the materials they need at the best possible price. While this may be the displacement of one of the oldest businesses in I.V., it is not the first time the commercial landscape of I.V. has changed dramatically, according to President and General Manager of Isla Vista Market Lee Johnson.
“Isla Vista has always had a lot of change … it was kind of a hippie place at one time, in the ‘60s,” Johnson said. “I think the quality of the students the university has changed — there’s less partying and more studying than there used to be.”
In addition, Johnson said I.V. also faces competition from establishments in downtown Goleta and Santa Barbara, as many university students go downtown for dinner or drinks, causing business to decline for small, local I.V. restaurants and bars.
“A lot of I.V. money is spent in Santa Barbara, but almost no Santa Barbara money is spent in I.V.,” Johnson said.
Despite the ever-changing, ever-growing community that is Isla Vista and the increasing reliance on the internet, Swaney said he sees this as an opportunity for his budding new business.
“As I understand it, the previous owners were just in that time of life where they decided it was time to retire,” Swaney said. “But these changes make way [for other businesses] like ours.”
A version of this article appeared on page 3 of January 29th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.