School store to relocate soon

The Knights’ Keep will be moving up a level in ATEC

Man with beard and glasses

By Michael Lear-Olimpi

Knightly News Editor

The Knights’ Keep, Central Penn’s campus store, will be moving from the catacombs of the Advanced Technology Education Center to a room in the building’s main lobby, just beyond the entrance.

College Public Relations Associate Lezli Austen, who oversees the Keep, said the move-in date isn’t set, but that the commissary of a wide array of spirit wear, notebooks, ear buds, pennants, coffee mugs and travel cups, and other useful badges of college pride, will probably move next term from the storage area in the parking-lot side of the Conference Center to the news spot.

The new location, which the Central Penn facilities department has been readying in the former  commuter-student locker room, will provide greater visibility for students, employees and visitors, Austen said.

Two men in gray T-shirts and blue jeans working in a room removing double-stacked blue steel lockers.
Central Penn Facilities Director Chris Sheriff, standing, and facilities technician Michael Bangert, working in the ATEC space that will be the new Knights’ Keep store.
Photo by Michael Lear-Olimpi

“We get traffic,” Austen said recently as she sat behind the table that serves as a counter in the Conference Center space.  “But it was especially busy during Fall Harvest and open houses. Faculty members and staff will stop by to see what’s new, and students come in to buy shirts and other items.”

The store features about 100 items. Austen said the inventory will be easy to move.

“These racks are on wheels, and they’ll fit into the elevator – we measured,” Austen said with a grin, referring the tall and wide black heavy-wire shelf racks.

The size of the ATEC lobby space is similar to that of the Keep’s current digs – about 230 square feet, according to Director of Facilities Chris Sheriff –  but will provide better access for people who want to buy swag to express their Knights pride. The store is moving because CulinArt, Central Penn’s foodservice and conference-operations provider, needs the space for storage. It is part of the conference center storage space.

Sheriff and facilities technician Michael Bangert have spent a couple of weeks removing the rows of school lockers from the lobby space. The heavy-steel wall- and floor-bound rows of lockers had to be unscrewed and then moved with dollies onto a truck outside ATEC to be transported for disposal.

Sheriff and Bangert then patched and smoothed holes on the walls. Then Central Penn-orange paint went on. The floor was recently prepared for carpeting to be installed. Sheriff said on Feb. 29 that the carpet should arrive in two weeks and added that other factors in the room conversion must be addressed, which makes it hard to say when the store would open in its new home, but estimated that the opening could be in about a month.

Woman with short brown hair seated at a table in a small store filled with Central Penn college spirit wear and items.
Central Penn Public Relations Associate Lezli Austen in the Knights’ Keep’s current location, on the ground floor — on the parking-lot end of the conference center. Photo by Michael Lear-Olimpi

Central Penn has operated campus stores through its presence in Summerdale, which began in the early 1970s. The Keep opened in its Conference Center location in July 2022.

A cadre of student workers pulls shifts in the store to tell visitors about the goods kept in the Keep and to sell those items. The store is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

Before the Knights’ Keep opened in the conference center, it operated several years ago briefly in The Core, the pillar-like structure in the ground-floor (lowest level) of ATEC, where the student mailboxes are.

“We just didn’t have enough room there,” Austen said about what was named The Store in the Core. “I would have pop-up sales, but we took the space (in the conference center) when it was available.”

Central Penn paraphernalia also was, and continues to be, sold at sporting and other college events.

Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.