Consulting firms evaluate university’s auxiliary services

_mg_5555

Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer

MGT America and Porter Khouw consulting firms evaluated Murray State’s auxiliary operations and facilities and the university bookstore is making its recommended changes.

The consultants were on campus Sept. 7-9. They met with the auxiliary division – which includes housing, dining, the bookstore and printing services – as well as focus groups, administrators, faculty, students and staff.

Public Relations wrote in an official university statement to The Murray State News, Murray State asked for an auxiliary consultant to review their auxiliary operations over the summer and make recommendations on how the services can be financially benefiting and maintain quality.

_mg_5550

McKenna Dosier/TheNews

The statement said Murray State currently does not outsource any of their services.

“The consultants could recommend some level of outsourcing; however, it is too early in their review process to comment on any expected recommendations,” public relations wrote in the statement.  

Kathryn Matthews, freshman from Louisville, said she shops at the bookstore frequently and does not want the bookstore to be an outsourced entity.

“I feel like it would be a waste,” Matthews said. “I mean we come to this university and then you try to help out the university as much as you can…you think the bookstore money would go to improve the bookstore.”

Kathryn Fereday, freshman from Chesterfield, Virginia, said she does not shop at the bookstore often, but does not want the bookstore to outsource.

“There’s a lot of pros and cons to it, but right now I think the bookstore is doing a pretty good job how it is and I don’t want to see it change too much,” Fereday said.

Karol Hardison, director of the University store said Murray State is not looking to outsource their services.

Hardison said she doesn’t know what to expect if outsourcing were to occur and she said she hopes it does not happen.

“By having our institutional store, we get to cater more toward what our students want,” Hardison said.

Hardison said the consultants gave her a number of tips to generate revenue for her store, including:

  • Carrying apparel with the word “alumni”
  • During sports camps, go and merchandise, in case they cannot make it the store
  • Carrying cosmetics for women
  • Book signings
  • Tailgating tents with the Murray State logo

She said the bookstore has relationships with representatives from vendors like Columbia, Russell, Jansport and Champion. She said representatives set up the clothes and students and staff can pick out designs they like.

Matthews said she loves the feeling she gets when she buys merchandise from the bookstore.

“You have a weird sense of yeah I’m buying from the university bookstore, ‘look at this hoodie I got from Murray State University,’” Matthews said.

She said she is proud of the University bookstore and the people who work there.

“Well, I think we have a great store,” Hardison said. “And our national college store associate they also think we run a great operation. I’ve been in these stores and they are very nice too, but we are more student oriented.”

The university included in their statement that the university should receive a report from MGT America and Porter Khouw at the end of November and then they will determine possible changes in auxiliary services.