Ackerman Union’s print shop’s sales are ahead of budget projections despite continuing to not make a profit.
Associated Students UCLA announced at its board meeting Feb. 23 that Bruin Custom Print’s earnings were decreasing. The store’s revenue for the second half of the fiscal year was around $9,000 less than the first half, but the store’s fall sales are ahead of budget projections by $9,000, said Patrick Healey, ASUCLA apparel and accessories director.
Bruin Custom Print, which opened on the A-level of Ackerman Union in January 2017 to replace the arcade Game On!, provides printing, loose-leaf material binding and embroidery services.
Healey said the store offers printing services on various items including pens, posters and banners. The store has added more kiosk printing machines on campus at locations such as elsewhere on Ackerman A-level and the Hill.
Navi Sidhu, an undergraduate representative on the ASUCLA Board of Directors, said the store’s income appears to be decreasing because the store’s expenses, including labor and utilities, were about $5,000 greater than expected.
“Our bottom-line numbers may not be positive, but that is a cost that is associated with new ventures,” he said. “You need to hire people, pay for labor and marketing and different things to generate revenue.”
Sidhu added student wages were the largest contributor to the store’s lowered bottom line. He said student wages comprised a larger portion of the budget than anticipated because the store started a new ambassador program in fall 2017, hiring students to increase publicity and awareness of Bruin Custom Print on campus by reaching out to student clubs and organizations.
Sidhu said ASUCLA paid $5,000 more for student labor than they anticipated but added he thinks the loss was not significant in the larger context of the association’s multi-million dollar budget.
He added the store also offered new services in January to try to increase sales, including embroidering graduation sashes to customize and personalize them for students.
Several students said they think the Bruin Custom Print shop provides affordable services but is not well advertised on campus.
Olivia Oturai, a graduate student in public health, said she thinks Bruin Custom Print is a convenient place to print posters and is often cheaper than stores off campus.
Oturai added printing a research presentation poster at Bruin Custom Print was about $30 cheaper than at Staples.
Lucas Cone, a graduate student in education and information studies, said that while he thinks the store provides useful services, many students do not know about it. He added he thinks the store should do more outreach to campus conferences and clubs.
“(I) didn’t know about the store, and UCLA could advertise the shop to increase revenue,” he said.
Sidhu said Bruin Custom Print’s future net revenue is projected to be positive because he thinks the store is starting to gain publicity due to its ambassador program.
“(The) custom-printing shop has positive trajectory since net sales are increasing,” Sidhu said. “Additional labor costs … will decline as (the) campus becomes more aware of services that Bruin Custom Print shop offers.”