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Jon Knutson, Published December 18 2009

Bison Books offers alternative

Brian Page and Joe Rosasco saw opportunity in North Dakota State University’s growth.

“We just felt NDSU has gotten big enough where there was room for some competition (to the NDSU Bookstore),” Page said.

He and Rosasco have opened Bison Books in the Bison Crossing building, 1142 17th St. N., Fargo, at the intersection of 12th Avenue and 17th Street.

The privately owned 6,000-square-foot store buys and sells textbooks, as well as school supplies, candy and pop.

NDSU is a public entity, so Bison Books can obtain the list of books – and then stock the books – needed for upcoming NDSU classes, Page said.

Jenna Sobiech and Justin Berg manage Bison Books.

Page said he and Rosasco each own four college bookstores in Michigan and wanted to launch another one together. They checked out colleges nationwide and liked NDSU.

The school’s enrollment growth – to more than 14,000 from about 10,000 at the beginning of the decade – appealed to them.

So do Fargo-Moorhead residents.

“People here are just nice. I know how that sounds, but it’s true,” Page said.

Bison Books, which focuses on keeping down overhead, tries to sell books for slightly less and buy them back for slightly more than the NDSU Bookstore, Page said.

“We can’t make any guarantees (about having better prices than the NDSU Bookstore), but we do our best on every book,” Page said.

Keisha Newman, an NDSU senior who recently sold several used books at Bison Books, said she was satisfied with her experience.

Carol Miller, NDSU Bookstore director, said her store has “always operated as if we have a competitor,” referring to the Internet.

The NDSU bookstore has a history of adding services and convenience for students, she said.

Among the examples she cited:

She said prices at the NDSU store will be competitive with those at Bison Books.

Page said Bison Books wants to have a good working relationship with the university.

Store hours vary depending on the school year, but Bison Books generally is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The store can be reached at (701) 476-2665.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530