Mizzou Store name change leads to mixed student feedback

The biggest change for the new Mizzou Store will be learning to call it by its new name, students said.

The University Bookstore has been renamed to The Mizzou Store effective May 29, 2013. According to MU Marketing Manager Michelle Froese, the name change was based off of an existing merchandise store in Chesterfield, Mo.

MU’s University Bookstore officially changed its name June 1 and replaced the old sign with a new $5,800 one that reads “The Mizzou Store.”

This marks the second time the store has changed its name, which was last called the “Student Co-operative” from 1899 to 1939.

The store will keep the University Bookstore engraving on the outside of the building as part of MU’s history and tradition, said MU Marketing Manager Michelle Froese.

However, the name change itself was not taken lightly.

“It’s been the University bookstore for so long, but times are changing so that we offer more than just books,” Froese said. “Course materials are migrating more to a technological platform, so one of the questions we asked was, if you call yourself a bookstore, what happens 20-30 years from now when you don’t sell as many books? Does that limit what your customers look to you for?”

Shelby McGhee, junior and student store supervisor, said the store sells much more than just textbooks.

“They wanted to allow people to realize you don’t just get your books through the ‘bookstore’ now,” McGhee said.

Nevertheless, the new name entailed habitual changes for students.

“A lot of us thought it was kind of strange because it’s always been the University Bookstore, so it didn’t really make sense to change it,” Mizzou Store employee Campbell Thomas said. “I guess they wanted other stores to all have the same name, but it’s hard to remember to say.”

MU Summer Welcome leaders giving school tours to incoming freshmen were also affected by the change.

“I’ve definitely been practicing with my student groups as a Summer Welcome leader trying to say 'The Mizzou Store,' but 'bookstore' slips out sometimes,” McGhee, who is also a Summer Welcome leader, said. “It’s really just ingrained.”

Amy Sayers, a junior Summer Welcome leader, said it was hard to adjust at first because she was attached to the University Bookstore name, but the store staff helped the leaders adjust to the new name.

“Everyone was sad about it at first, but then they came in and gave us a presentation during our two weeks of training,” Sayers said. “And they explained the whole rebranding with moving away from textbooks, which does make sense.”

Junior David Wettroth was not a fan of the change.

“I feel it’s unnecessary. ‘The bookstore’ was a good name that explained it,” Wettroth said. “Usually when you go to other university stores, it’s called a bookstore; you’re not looking for ‘The Mizzou Store’ or anything.”

Regardless, The Mizzou Store had collected input before proceeding with the rebranding.

“They talked to (the Department of) Student Life, and brought in a company to interview students, employees and staff to hear as many opinions as possible,” Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege said. “They did get a lot of feedback before they tried to change the name.”

Droege said the store, which is a member of the National Association of College Stores and the Independent College Bookstore Association, also talked to other university bookstores who had gone through similar rebranding.

Other name changes, such as the University of Oregon’s Duck Shop, were met with enthusiasm, and Froese hopes for the same with MU’s.

“The uniqueness of our brand is not that we’re a university bookstore; there are tons across the nation, and there are a lot of MU’s out there,” she said. “But the thing that sets us apart as a university is the name 'Mizzou.' It makes sense that we change that brand and reflect that as The Mizzou Store.”

The Mizzou Store is also redesigning its interior by removing walls and moving sections around. The store also created a new website and Facebook page, McGhee said.

Droege said he thinks current students will find it hard to adjust to the name change but that the reasons behind it are valuable.

“If you look at the physical changes that are taking place in the store, there’s a hang out space now, for example,” he said. “It’s an atmosphere change more than a product change.”

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