Tucked in a corner near the entrance of the LS bookstore is a small black booth that can easily be missed if one hurries through the entrance. The booth is very simple, just a collection of glass display cases lit by fluorescent lights. The contents of those cases, however, are enough to make one stop and take a second look. The little booth, called “icampus”, is actually the LS bookstore’s very own Apple store and sells Macbooks and Ipods for significantly lower prices than can be found in stores outside campus. The store also sells Apple-related accessories and has in-house technical support for Apple products as part of its unique features.
The storelaunched just last April 15, and was the result of an idea by Fr. Rene Javellana, SJ, to open a store featuring Apple products in campus at student-friendly prices. Fr. Javellana, together with LS bookstore director William Mallari, then broached the idea to Apple, who sent regional executives from Singapore to visit the LS bookstore and discuss arrangements for what eventually became “icampus”. According to Mallari, part of the reason for launching the store was to be able to better serve the Loyola Schools community, where Apple products are used by a significant number of students, faculty, and staff members.
The store carries the entire lineup of Apple products, ranging from the smallest Ipod Shuffle to the top of the line Mac Pro desktop computers, including accessories. In addition to the original Apple accessories, the store also carries Apple accessories from non-Apple manufacturers, which gives customers a wider variety of options to choose from. Currently, the store continues to source for other suppliers to add to the variety of accessories available for purchase, particularly concerning headphones and audio accessories for Ipods.
The products in the store all enjoy discounts, though the rate of the discount varies per product. On the average, Macbooks enjoy a 10-15 percent discount off the suggested Apple retail price. Ipods, on the other hand, enjoy a 22 – 27 percent discount. In addition to the discount, “icampus” has an Apple-trained technician ready in the store to assist with any Apple-related technical problems. Though meant as additional after-sales support for the store, no purchase is necessary to avail of the technician’s assistance. In addition to this, purchases made by members of the Loyola Schools Credit Cooperative can avail of loan packages for their purchases.
Since its launch, there has been plenty of interest in the store. Mallari expressed satisfaction with how the store has been doing since its launch, with its sales performing well, even if it was launched during the summer break. The LS bookstore is anticipating even better business from “icampus” as the new school year begins and more students are able to enjoy the new store.
By Roy Tristan Agustin