While Fort Collins has many chain store locations, students at
CSU have the option to shop at several independent stores near
Although not as familiar, independent stores have many services
to offer students such as used merchandise and the ability to
Two such stores are Finest CDs, Tapes and LPs, 1103 West
Elizabeth St., and The Book Rack Bookstore, 1801 South College
“We have a more knowledgeable staff, an independent feel and a
larger mix of products than the chains,” said Jim Risser, owner of
Risser has owned Finest since 1972, and since Finest is located
so close to campus, many students frequent the store.
“About 60 percent of our business is students,” said Mark
Cheatham, store manager for Finest. “It’s mostly due to the good
location. We get a lot of foot traffic.”
The independent atmosphere of Finest is one of the things that
draws students to Finest.
“I always see the same people there, which is nice. Plus, they
have a frequent buyer’s card you can sign up for, and they almost
always have what I’m looking for,” said Cam DeCoster, a junior
mechanical engineering major.
Finest sells used CD’s, cassette tapes, DVD’s, VHS and records,
in addition to new entertainment.
“There’s no doubt that used (merchandise) keeps the doors open,”
Risser said. “We’ve got over a thousand items used at lower prices
than most other places. It’s the best deal for the customer, and
Selling used is something that Finest and The Book Rack have in
The Book Rack Bookstore has been owned by Susie Wilmer since
1980, and has maintained a steady clientele over the years.
“Our stock is two-thirds used and we give out trade credit,
which makes us different from the chains,” Wilmer said. “We sell
used fiction the most, but we can special order and get orders in
fast. We give 20 percent discounts to orders as well.”
Being able to special-orders is one of the biggest differences
between independent stores and chain stores.
“We can special-order almost anything that is in print and get
it the next day,” Risser said.
With the number of chains growing, many independent stores are
being driven out of business because of chains’ abilities to sell
items at such low prices.
“Chains selling at low prices has been happening for years,”
Risser said. “It’s called loss leader pricing. They get you in for
the little stuff, but there you see all the bigger, expensive
Finest CDs Tapes LPs
1103 West Elizabeth Street
Open 9-9 Monday-Saturday 12-6 Sunday
The Bookrack Bookstore
1801 South College Avenue
Open 9-7 Monday-Thursday 9-8 Friday-Saturday 12-6 Sunday