Story by Genevieve Conti
Photos by Shane Epping

This summer, the University Bookstore debuted a brand new name: The Mizzou Store. The transformation, which took place in May, came after careful research that included input from students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as advice from other schools that have made similar changes.

‘Bookstore’ is a very generic name, and there are a lot of university bookstores all over the nation,” says Michelle Froese, marketing manager for Student Auxiliary Services. The name, she says, focuses on what makes the University of Missouri unique. “It’s not the block M, and it’s not a tiger; there are tigers everywhere. It’s ‘Mizzou,’ which is really identifiable as the brand.”

In addition to the name change, the store got a fresh look, complete with a more open floor plan and an inflatable 30-foot tiger tail dangling from the roof of the building.

We wanted to make it a little more fun to come back to campus,” Froese says. She had asked, “What would it look like if there was a tiger asleep on the roof and his tail was hanging over?”

Michelle Froese stands in front of mannequins inside The Mizzou Store

Marketing manager Michelle Froese has worked for the store since she was in graduate school 19 years ago. She started as a temporary employee and started working there full time when she was writing her dissertation.

The future of textbooks

The advent of digital textbooks was another factor in changing the store’s name. In recent years, the store has begun to offer more electronic course materials in addition to traditional textbooks.

Thirty years down the road, if things have transitioned from traditional books into a more digital platform, if you’re still calling yourself a bookstore, does that limit what people think you can offer?” Froese says.

Although digital course materials are slowly increasing in use (Froese says about 30 percent of textbooks sold have some sort of digital component), price is still the biggest deciding factor for students. Digital textbook prices have crept up as demand has grown, and their prices are now comparable to used printed textbooks.

The University of Missouri Bookstores, which encompasses campus bookstores for Missouri
University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri–Kansas City and University of
Missouri–St. Louis, works with seven different companies to offer digital formats to students when they’re available.

For every Tiger

Textbooks are a vital part of the student experience, but The Mizzou Store also offers merchandise, apparel and gifts to “make your life enjoyable, interesting and more convenient,” Froese says.

Those are things that establish a connection to support your alma mater,” she says. “Those are ways of visibly showing you’re connected to the Mizzou community.”

The Mizzou Store name aims to appeal to Tigers in all stages of life.

We want it to be your first stop for your first visit to campus,” Froese says. “We want it to be your first stop when you get your first set of books for class or your first sweatshirt as a faculty or staff member. When you come back as a proud alumnus, we want this to be the place you
come.”