Towson University’s University Store and the New Mexico Junior College Bookstore (NMJC) are two distinct campus stores with a key feature in common: both take advantage of MBS Store Technology Solutions’ annual training. As a result, both stores find new ways to increase revenue, transcend industry challenges and serve their students every year.
Campus stores that keep learning in the business plan
Towson is a four-year public university that serves a large, diverse population on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. Training is an essential component of its business plan. University Store Director, Stacy Elofir, said that regular courses with MBS help store associates innovate and stay ahead of industry change.
“I would say training is very valuable. You have to use it,” said Elofir. “Anyone can get stale without training. Everyone should put it in their business plan every year.”
NMJC caters to a rural population of two-year college goers. Most of its students enroll part-time while working and raising families. Assistant Director for Bookstore Services, Julie Buchanan, said regular training helps associates lower students costs and provide the population with reliable, efficient service.
“Our students don’t know our system training benefits them, but it does!” said Buchanan.
Tailored, in-depth learning experiences
Towson University Store associates have attended training at MBS headquarters in Columbia, Missouri, nearly every year since the store adopted the system over a decade ago.
“There is so much to the system. I pick up something new every single time I go,” said Elofir. “The training in Missouri actually is wonderful.”
In addition to attending training sessions at MBS headquarters, NMJC Bookstore associates take advantage of on-site training. An MBS system expert visits yearly and conducts training sessions on the store’s chosen topics.
“We love it! We actually have a person that comes down every year during our inventory time,” said Buchanan.
Many stores benefit from the personalized webinars included with MBS training packages. These budget-friendly online classes are prepared on topics stores choose. Buchanan said that she values the webinars for their convenience. But, for her, the dynamic, in-person MBS training sessions are hard to beat.
“It’s easier to ask more questions in person,” she said. “Sometimes you really want to go in-depth with someone, one on one.”
A true return on investment
Elofir said that you can’t get a strong return on investment from a company that offers a collegiate retail system but lacks reliable support and top-notch training packages. She and her associates have evaluated other college retail systems over the years, she said. But not one offers the kind of reliable training and support that they regard as essential.
“We’ve looked at other systems and it always comes down the question of financial value. How long would it take us to get a return on our investment?” said Elofir. “That’s why we always choose to stay with MBS. No one else offers the same kind of training and support
Maximizing store resources
Like many small campus stores, NMJC relies heavily on part-time student workers. That makes it especially critical for the store’s full-timers to have a complete understanding of the system.
“We don’t have a lot of full-time employees, so we have more turnover than we would prefer. That’s why we maintain our training package. It benefits us to keep people in the know,” said Buchanan.
Maintaining an annual package helps NMJC managers share responsibility for training new employees. A lone employee is never burdened with the task of instructing every newcomer. This maximizes the efficiency of its full-time staff and lowers costs. It also ensures that the store is always staffed with at least one person who understands the system well.
“I’m a big believer in cross-training,” said Buchanan. “You never want there to be just one person who knows how to do something important. What happens if they get sick?”
Reliable, long-term support
NMJC Bookstore and Towson University Store also rely on MBS support for accurate guidance in between formal training sessions. They know they can depend on MBS to offer the on-the-spot training they need for any situation.
“We love our reps,” said Buchanan. “They’re just really good at helping us through anything.”
Elofir said that MBS’ reliable support and stability give her fundamental peace of mind.
“When you invest in a system, you want something that will last,” said Elofir. “You need to know the company is going to be there in the future. Training, support, longevity. Those things really matter.”