The honor was announced this month at CAMEX (Campus Market Expo) 2017, the campus store industry’s largest education and tradeshow event held March 3-7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
John Parry, director of the CSU Bookstore, accepted the award on behalf of the store and the university.
“It takes a great team to accomplish great things, and the CSU Bookstore has a great team,” Parry said during his remarks. “Thanks to our career staff as well as our student and seasonal staff, and the dedicated employees from previous years who helped set the stage for the successes we continue to experience. Thanks goes to great administrators who continue to support us and what we are doing. Thanks also to the entire CSU community.”
Highest level of excellence
The award recognizes a college store that demonstrates the highest level of collegiate retailing excellence. Judging is based on six criteria: campus connection, academic support, customer commitment, shopping experience, workplace culture and profitability.
“Every entry made an impressive case for collegiate retailing excellence, but the submission from Colorado State University Bookstore stood out as particularly exceptional,” said Tom Hoffa, vice president of channel partnerships for Pearson Education and NACS Foundation president. “The judges loved their strong campus and community connections.”
According to the NACS Foundation, the CSU Bookstore stood out with its commitment to both campus and community. Along with developing a wide network of partner groups on campus and working to support student orientation and other programs, the bookstore serves as a key partner of CSU’s “School is Cool” program, which helps local K-12 students with back-to-school supplies. The program has provided more than 40,000 supply bags to local students over its 25-year history, and the Bookstore has been involved for nearly two decades by ordering low-cost, high-quality school supplies and having them delivered.
With a mission focused on saving students money, the CSU Bookstore has also implemented a range of course material initiatives, including one of the largest buyback operations in the country, with five campus locations. The store also maintains a robust used-book program and has implemented dynamic pricing, alternative formats, rentals, e-books and inclusive access.
Savings for students
The programs allow the store to maintain a competitive market position, with its course material sales holding steady while others in the industry have witnessed significant decreases. The store saved CSU students $4.7 million on course materials last year alone, through lower-priced options, used books, buyback and other programs.
“We find out what is most important to our campus and then figure out how to provide it in a way that makes business sense,” Parry said.
“Colorado State University Bookstore’s submission was about a true commitment to excellence in all aspects of the criteria and beyond,” said Tommye Miller, former NACS president and retired director of the Valdosta State University Bookstore in Valdosta, Georgia. “The store totally rebranded itself in light of the changing market of higher education and publishing, and did it successfully. Colorado State University Bookstore really does reflect the passion I have for the college store and the vital importance of partnerships.”
The Collegiate Retailer of the Year Award is underwritten through the Tommye and Keith Miller Endowment Fund. The Millers’ passion for the industry inspired the couple to endow a prestigious award that would celebrate a dynamic and forward-thinking store’s achievements.
The NACS Foundation Board of Directors is solely responsible for selecting the Collegiate Retailer of the Year from all the applications submitted. The $5,000 award is given on a biennial basis.