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SMC bookstore gets new manager

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, October 6, 2004

On the surface, the Shaheen Bookstore at Saint Mary’s looks the same as it has for years. Underneath, however, big changes are in store for this little shop.The biggest of these is a change in management. Saint Mary’s recently hired Michael Hicks, a former bookstore manager and assistant director of finance at Silver Lake College in Wisconsin, as the new bookstore director.Laurie Stickelmaier, Saint Mary’s vice president for finance and administration, hopes Hicks will move the bookstore in a progressive direction.”He is collaborative and has great ideas,” she said in a statement.Some of those ideas include marketing to the local community, broadening the variety and amount of items sold and encouraging student interaction with the bookstore.”I want to build a repoir,” Hicks said. “This is your bookstore, not mine. All the women should have ownership in it.”Hicks has already begun to engage the campus by asking work-study students for design ideas, which he intends to create and market. He also intends to reach out to campus clubs and organizations to help them with their design needs and to implement a fashion show to let students give their opinions on Saint Mary’s clothing designs.”I believe in team building and teamwork. We all have to be a team, even if we’re only here for four years,” Hicks said. “That’s what makes a college experience worthwhile.”Hicks said he is glad to be a part of the Saint Mary’s team. His daughter Jessica attended the College and graduated in 2000, giving him an opportunity to see the campus and feel what he calls “the Saint Mary’s spirit.””I’ve loved Saint Mary’s since the first day I brought my daughter on campus,” he said. “Words just don’t do it justice. I think it’s a unique campus. At Silver Lakes it was a different type of culture. We didn’t have the financial resources of a college this size. Our bookstore was one-third the size of this one.”The upcoming opening of the new student center will allow the Shaheen Bookstore to expand even further, Hicks said, adding he expects bookstore traffic to increase after the new facility is completed.”I think it’s going to be really nice,” he said. “It’s going to be a tremendous opportunity, not just for the bookstore but for the entire campus.”He also expects sales to climb after the move, despite the trend of students turning to online used-book sources in an attempt to combat the rising cost of textbooks. Hicks said there is no easy answer to the problem, although he is trying to solve it.”It concerns me a lot, because it is the publishers who are making all the money,” he said. “They are gouging the students and leading the whole racket. And it really is a racket.”Hicks recently performed a cost study against eight online sellers such as amazon.com, Barnes & Noble online and half.com only to find that with shipping added, the average price of texts for a semester is about the same as at the college bookstore. Hicks said he will work to help the students in any way he can and is pleased just to be at Saint Mary’s.”I am really happy that this opportunity has been given to me,” he said. “[My daughter] said to me, ‘Dad, do you remember what you told me eight years ago?’ and I do. I said, ‘someday, I’m going to be here.'”Zook8928@saintmarys.edu