Recognizing a changing campus marketplace and welcoming student input has allowed Ferris State University’s Auxiliary Services team to find early success with the Ferris Outfitters/MyBulldog Service Center, which opened recently in the University Center.
Auxiliary Services put out a request for proposals after not renewing a contract with the previous bookstore operator. Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Gheretta Harris said Ferris heard from multiple apparel and gift merchandisers and firms specializing in bookstore management before making its choice.
“We decided on an opportunity where textbook provisions would be through an online ordering mechanism while we self-operate the facility in the UC,” Harris said. “Our primary goals consisted of gaining control over price points of merchandise and to build partnerships with our various student groups to identify merchandising and fundraising opportunities in support of their efforts.”
Bulldog Outfitters and MyBulldog Service Center will hold a grand opening celebration on Thursday, Sept. 23, with specials and giveaways from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., following a ribbon-cutting ceremony with remarks from Ferris President David Eisler and others. There will also be a fashion show at 4:30 p.m. featuring some of the new colors and options available.
Sheree Schrot is the new store manager for Ferris Outfitters. Schrot said that her focus in the past several months has been streamlining processes while making choices to benefit student customers.
“I have been focused on presenting new clothing product styles and offering our customer base a number of color choices,” Schrot said. “That came about through a collaborative process with university marketing specialists. The emphasis on input and outreach to direct our efforts also included meetings with students, who offered their opinions on what they hoped to find available in spirit gear and other products.”
Schrot said some new stock items sold out in a matter of days, which was exciting for management and staff at Ferris Outfitters.
Ali Molnar is a project specialist with Campus Auxiliary Services and helps oversee the MyBulldog Service Center on the store’s lower level.
“All elements related to Parking Services on campus were previously resolved by visiting the Department of Public Safety office in West Commons,” Molnar said. “Dining Services questions or transactions were in an office area of The Rock. Acquisition of ID cards and badges took place at the Timme Center. We surveyed students last winter, with a majority of the responses seeking a ‘one-stop shop’ because they believed it would improve their customer service experience.”
As with product line changes offered by Ferris Outfitters, early reaction to the MyBulldog Service Center has been promising.
“Students are grateful to have this centralized operation,” Molnar said. “We are working to inform the campus community of the direction we have taken through this center.”
“We are glad to provide our customers affordable and desirable items, to build on their university experience,” Harris said.