The Stanford Store is one of those places that take a while to figure out. It’s not the bookstore, but it sells Stanford gear. It makes the über-popular Big Game t-shirts, but it’s also impossible to find. It’s entirely student-run, but it still seems like a legitimate business.
Which got me thinking – who are these mysterious students that keep the store running smoothly day after day and provide me a seemingly unlimited supply of Stanford paraphernalia? To answer my question, I sat down with the person who puts the ‘student’ in student-run: 2010-2011 Stanford Store Manager Olivia Witter.
Only a sophomore – and potential STS major – Olivia is responsible for ensuring that all the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes the Stanford Store a success gets done. “Hand counting inventory, reordering clothes, making sure the store is stocked, customer services,” Olivia recites off just a few of her myriad duties to me. “I really enjoy meeting with suppliers and picking out items that go in the store,” she continues. “It’s like being a designer, but not as intense and judged. And because I’m a student, I’m also a customer – so I think, ‘Would I buy that?’”
Among some of the new items that Olivia has picked out for the store this year are Stanford yoga pants – a guaranteed-to-be-popular item amongst Stanford’s exercise-happy student population. And just think, while you are busy thinking how great your backside looks in your snazzy new yoga pants, the money you spent goes right back to the ASSU.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Like any boss, Olivia also has the unfortunate duty of letting substandard employees go. “It’s an awful part of the job,” she tells me, cruelly denying me the villainous response I was so hoping for, “but what it comes down to is are the employees working well together, are they doing their jobs.”
But the stress of firing is child’s play in comparison to the bigger challenge being heaped onto Olivia’s plate this year: the relocation of the Stanford Store.
That’s right, you heard correctly – the Stanford Store is finally emerging from its hiding place and moving out into the open. “We are moving from our current location to right next to Jamba Juice – where the Stanford Ticket Office now is with all the ugly couches.” Bad news for the ugly couches, good news for the store. “The move is scheduled for early January,” Olivia tells me excitedly, “and we are shooting to reopen for the first week of winter quarter.”
The move will no doubt positively impact the store’s profits and visibility. Although I have to say, I will sorely miss watching bewildered freshman wandering around in search of the elusive Stanford Store. We used to make them earn those Big Game t-shirts. The Class of 2015 will never know how good they have it.
If you have questions or suggestions for what you would like to see in the Stanford Store, be sure to email Olivia at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m casting my vote for a Stanford swimsuit/swim cap combo. Thoughts?