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Bookstore gears up for game day

Tricia de Groot | Friday, October 1, 2004

In the minds of many students, alumni and fans, there is no better time to be on campus than home football weekends. Visitors, both friend and foe, flock to campus to see the Dome, the stadium, Touchdown Jesus and not least of all, the Hammes Bookstore.

The bookstore, which normally employs about 200 people, about 80 of whom work full-time, has upwards of 500 employees on home football weekends.

“It is a significant opportunity for the community and for students,” bookstore director Jim O’Connor said.

This year’s version of The Shirt – the kelly green T-shirt saying “We are ND” – has already been off to a great start in sales, O’Connor said. He attributed it largely to the spring unveiling.

In 2002, 150,000 units were sold and in 2003, 130,000 units were sold. This year, the bookstore has already managed to sell 60,000 shirts.

In addition to adding more employees to the bookstore staff, the store is also rearranged for easy shopping.

“One of the beauties of the new facility is flexibility,” O’Connor said. “All of our fixtures are mobile.”

O’Connor also said after the students’ back-to-school needs were mostly accommodated, the layout geared toward academic products was changed to give the bookstore more of a department store feel. This allows the bookstore to create sections specifically for women, children and alumni, he said.

When deciding what kind of merchandise to stock the store with, the bookstore looks at both the previous year’s sale records and the football schedule.

In short, what is displayed in the bookstore in early September is different from the merchandise shown in late November.

“Last year we were able to respond to The Shirt demand because we had three home games in November,” O’Connor said. However the bookstore has already sold this year’s allotment The Shirt.

O’Connor also said the bookstore looks at what teams will be playing, how far they are traveling to come to the game and if they are a team that Notre Dame has recently played.

He explained many Washington fans made bookstore purchases because of these factors.