Behind-the-scenes: The busy UNO bookstore

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COURTESY OF COLLEGESTOREDESIGN.COM
COURTESY OF COLLEGESTOREDESIGN.COM

By Mary O’Brien
CONTRIBUTOR

“The integrity of the students shows when they walk through the doors. The bookstore offers so much to the students, and the students offer so much to it,” said Andrea Dunn, the lead cashier and systems coordinator at the UNO bookstore.

The UNO bookstore has an atmosphere of quiet integrity. People move about with a distinct purpose. Students flash in and out as staff and students populate the floor ushering quiet questions and answers.

“The best part about working at the book store is certainly the people. It’s why I love it here, “Dunn said.

Like many other businesses the UNO bookstore faces busy times of the year, which calls for preparation and hands-on teamwork.

One of the crucially busy times the bookstore has is its “Mav Mania” events where the store holds a sale on one item. “Sometimes its sweatpants, sometimes it’s a T-shirt. We sell it at cost purely for the students benefit we don’t make a lot of money off the event” Dunn said.

The bookstore faces a rush at varying times of the year as well.

“Our rush season is definitely the beginning of both spring and fall semesters, especially with the in store pickups,” Dunn said.

Dunn delves into the world of fulfilling orders from students shopping online. The bookstore does all of the online orders in-house, which means the staff at the bookstore handle all of the orders. This can mean a lot of things for the staff, who are usually up to the task of fulfilling these online orders, which can include: putting together the books for students, packaging them, and then sorting them for each online order, Dunn said.

“We can go from a day of only having two orders to a day of having 300 orders come in-house that we have to ship out,” she said with a laugh, “which when you think about the size of our staff on any given day, is pretty amazing.”

The bookstore has seen an increase in sales in E-books ,a newer cheaper alternative to regular books. An E-Book allows students to buy access to a book on laptops, iPads or Kindles, which has a bigger draw to tech-driven students.

Dunn said the bookstore sees little to no theft from its customers, leading the book-store’s staff to see the good in the campus’s occupants.

“Unfortunately, if people come in with that intention, there’s not much stopping them, unless we catch them, of course. For the most part we don’t have a lot of theft. Our campus has integrity and it certainly shows through the lack of theft,” Dunn said.

UNO’s student center started construction in May 2015. During the student center remodel, the bookstore has shed its bag checking policy, allowing students to bring in back packs.

“Theft was certainly a concern when we started allowing students in with their back packs, but we haven’t been disappointed yet, “Dunn said.

Most of the staff at the UNO bookstore are students. Dunn estimates about 75 percent of the staff are UNO students.

Sydney Edens, a student who has worked at the bookstore for two years said: “I like that most of my co-workers are students. It’s a cool environment to work in.”

Another student worker at the UNO bookstore, Sruthi Sravanam, said she really enjoys getting to know people new customers.

The UNO bookstore seems to keep a cool handle on all of the needs of the bustling campus. The most popular items sold are chemistry books and Adidas apparel.

“Adidas is our team vendor. We actually carry all of the team-issued apparel. So if you see a hockey player wearing a cool hoodie, chances are you could buy it here, “Dunn said.

Eric Hager, manager of UNO’s bookstore, reflected on the positive aspects of his job.

“It is my privilege to lead an incredibly talented, diverse team at the store. The rewards are daily as I get to see first-hand the team’s incredible personal growth. The team has directly impacted the positive changes that have taken place this year.”

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