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Fargo bookstore owner upset by NDSU competition

FARGO -- Businessman Greg Danz is upset that publicly supported North Dakota State University is opening a retail bookstore blocks away from his privately operated Zandbroz Variety store in downtown Fargo.

The 5,000-square-foot NDSU Bookstore, included in a commercial and residential development called Cityscapes, is scheduled to open Monday, said Kim Anvinson, associate director of campus bookstores.

The new store will initially offer about 9,000 titles, a self-service coffee shop, reading areas and publishing services. It will not sell textbooks, said Carol Miller, NDSU bookstore director.

Zandbroz Variety, virtually just across the street, also sells books. Its estimated 10,000 titles represent a "significant part" of his 18-year-old retail business, Danz said.

"For them to be a public-supported institution and come downtown and be my subsidized competition just seems wrong," Danz said. "I don't understand what the intent is. It bothers me."

This marks the first public dispute between NDSU and downtown business since the university opened three classroom buildings downtown and became manager of 104 student apartments in the Cityscapes complex.

Craig McEwen is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.