Edwina Moore is full of creative energy when it comes to keeping UTMB’s Campus Store exciting and fresh.
“I love new ideas,” she says as she hops into the Galveston shop’s glass display window and starts arranging holiday-themed décor.
It’s a Thursday morning in mid-November, and Moore, a UTMB Campus Store clerk, is getting into the holiday spirit.
“We’ll switch out the display window twice this month to keep things new and festive,” she adds, while hanging a large ornament from the window.
It’s clear that Moore enjoys her job. She’s enthusiastic and motivated, and customers and co-workers alike can’t help but smile when she engages in conversation. Originally hired as a temp—first with Environmental Health and Safety, then Parking and the Campus Store—she transitioned to a permanent position with the Campus Store in 2015 and couldn’t be happier.
“I immediately took a liking to everything here and acted like a sponge, absorbing everything there is to learn about how the store runs,” Moore says. “When a full-time position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity.”
The UTMB Campus Store first opened as a traditional bookstore in the 1940s and was initially located in Old Red. Today, it’s on the first floor of the Moody Medical Library, where it has been transformed into an all-encompassing university shop, offering much more than just textbooks. UTMB gear and memorabilia, computer and office supplies, apparel, backpacks, gift items, snacks and much more fill the space. As an independent university store under Auxiliary Enterprises, its proceeds benefit UTMB’s student population.
Moore has already helped implement several innovative projects at the store, including a newly developed website, https://bookstore.utmb.edu/
, which has been popular among alumni, long distance students and UTMB employees on the mainland. The website also has a link to a new department order site that helps UTMB departments order marketing materials, uniforms, clothing and other items. (About 25 percent of all sales come from UTMB department purchases.)
When she’s not busy helping customers, ordering or stocking merchandise, Moore can be found taking pictures and editing photos of new apparel to post to the updated website.
“When we first started, we had maybe 20 items on the website and the pictures were kind of dark, but we’ve improved on what we can offer,” says Moore. “Everything we can get on the web, we do. It allows distance employees, students and alumni who have come and gone the ability to get UTMB apparel without having to drive to Galveston.”
I observe Moore’s multi-tasking skills in action as she finishes editing a photo of a
long-sleeve shirt and quickly turns her attention to a customer who needs help finding a retirement gift for a colleague. As soon as she finishes that transaction, the phone rings and Moore switches gears to assist a School of Medicine student with ordering custom embroidery for a UTMB jacket. Then, without missing a beat, she picks up our conversation where we left off, describing a new convenient service for employees who work off the island: UTMB Campus Store “pop-up” shops.
If you work at the Angleton Danbury or League City Campuses, there’s a high probability that you will run into Moore soon—she’s scheduled several pop-up shops over the coming months and will bring products from in-store to both campuses.
“We had a situation recently where an employee at ADC ordered scrubs, we shipped them, she tried them on and they didn’t fit, sent them back to us, and then we shipped out another size and hoped it would work. The whole process took about a month,” says Moore. “With the pop-up shops, we bring our products directly to employees. They can try on apparel right there to ensure the right fit. We went to ADC and LCC recently and got great feedback, so we’ll bring more requested items when we go next time.”
Moore flips through a catalog to show me some of the winter apparel that should be arriving soon. She likes to keep up with fashion trends and order popular styles for the store.
“I love ordering because I get to look at so many different styles and talk to students and employees about what they like and what’s popular for them right now,” says Moore. “We keep our UTMB seal T-shirt and polos the same, but everything else, we try to change up, whether it’s the color or design. We try to keep it exciting for people when they come in—and keep them wanting to come back. So, hitting competitive price points and having a variety of exciting items is a must.”
While many customers use the bookstore on occasion for buying print and digital text books or ordering graduation caps and gowns, Moore and the campus store team is working to build a bigger base of regular customers. In 2016, they launched a rewards program which allows anyone to earn Rewards Bucks for most purchases, and they are getting more involved in the UTMB community by hosting events, such as a recent student study break during finals, which included a big foam board coloring wall and a therapy dog.
“It was a lot of fun and it helped students relieve stress and not think about exams for a little while,” says Moore. “We have some great students—some of them I know by name and have built relationships with since the time they arrived at UTMB and bought their first textbooks, to when they ordered their caps and gowns and walked across the stage at graduation. It’s so great to see them reach their goal.”
I say goodbye to Moore as she starts tagging and restocking white coats. After spending half the day among colorful UTMB merchandise, it’s hard to leave empty-handed. I purchase a UTMB sweatshirt blanket to keep warm during Houston’s short-lived winter and Moore entices me to come back again soon.
“We have some new shipments coming in—it’ll be spring before you know it!”