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University of Missouri

Quirky Crafts Come to Student Center

Consignment shop for student‐made crafts opens today in the MU Student Center.

Quirks

No copy‐shop signs here. Natalie Cheng, a senior journalism and marketing major, puts some paint to a handmade sign for Quirks, a student‐owned and student‐run consignment shop for student‐made goods. Cheng is one of four co‐founders of the store, whose grand opening is today in room 1206 of the MU Student Center. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Nine days before the grand opening of Quirks, a student‐run, Etsy‐style consignment shop of handmade wares, its 200 square feet of space in the MU Student Center was half‐filled with merchandise.

Three of the four student entrepreneurs behind the retail ambition had, in turn, traveled the world during summer break with trips to China, Italy and Boston. The group and made a big push to ready their craft haven for its debut. The grand opening is today.

The handmade goods now filling the shelves, which came from students across campus, include decorative wooden bowls, coasters made of photo‐printed Popsicle sticks, Mizzou‐themed jewelry and cloth backpack patches.

The space itself, hidden all summer behind floor‐to‐ceiling windows veiled in parchment paper, oozes with quirky, crafty charm. Pieces of discarded shipping pallets from The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri are stained in rustic hues and mounted to the walls as shelves. A giant wooden spool donated by Boone Electric Cooperative is tipped on its end, painted indigo blue and serves as a display stand. A free kitchen table found on Facebook holds merchandise on its newly painted orange and light‐blue top. Broken bicycle wheels given by Walt’s Bike Shop dangle from the ceiling.

We’ve been appreciative of the help from all corners of the community,” says Natalie Cheng, a journalism and marketing major and the group’s creative director. “We’re working hard to make sure their donations, time and support don’t go to waste.”

Quirks is the sixth business to inhabit room 1206 of the Student Center, a rent‐free space the Missouri Student Unions Entrepreneurship Program reserves for student startups. Past tenants include MizzMenus, a restaurant delivery service, and Listener Approved, a service that promotes new musical artists.

If the business succeeds, our hope is they’d move it off campus,” says Jeff Zeilenga, assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs and director of Student and Auxiliary Services. “If it fails, what better place to fail than in a learning environment?”

The students behind Quirks are Zach Beattie, a business management major from Savannah, Mo.; Cheng of Naperville, Ill.; Kate Gallagher, a finance major from Savannah, Mo.; and Devin Kelsey, an economics major from Springfield, Mo.

The four are already counting their experience a success. They’ve learned how to file a business application, negotiated with MU to waive its fee for selling Mizzou‐trademarked merchandise, worked with The Mizzou Store to allow students to use their student IDs to charge purchases to their student account, and designed their own point‐of‐sale system on an Excel spreadsheet to track how much of their sales go to each consignor.

The four students are all seniors and are unsure where their careers will take them after graduation, but they hope that Quirks’ year in the Student Center demonstrates there’s a need for a place where students can easily market their handmade goods.

There’s a lot of resources on campus to connect the art community but not a lot of places to sell [the art produced],” says Kelsey, the store’s operations manager. “I’d really like if at the end of the years something like this stayed around.”

University Bookstore Molts into The Mizzou Store

Another new feature in the MU Student Center this year is a remodeled and rebranded bookstore, now called The Mizzou Store.

The Mizzou StoreThe new name and facelift come after 18-months working with the St. Louis-based consulting firm FleishmanHillard.

Formerly University Bookstore, The Mizzou Store brings greater focus to the life-stage needs of Mizzou students and alumni, says Jeff Zeilenga, director of Auxiliary Services, which includes the student center. Examples of life-stage marketing at The Mizzou Store include merchandise for alumni who are getting married or having a child.

“This operation de-emphasizes the textbook and emphasizes the Mizzou experience,” Zeilenga says. “[It lets us] stay connected with you.”

Zeilenga says textbook sales have been flat in recent years as the bookstore has offered a popular textbook rental program. Also, digital textbooks, while composing just 2 percent of sales currently, are expected to increase. And with textbooks being essentially a seasonal item, it made sense to reinvent the space around the larger Mizzou experience.

The retail makeover is not yet complete. Still to come is a fuzzy, full-size Truman the Tiger statue and giant M-I-Z and Z-O-U letters over the entrances.

The Mizzou Store rebranding is the second in the store’s history. Founded in 1899 as a student-run cooperative, University Co-Operative was reorganized and renamed University Book Store in 1940 and eventually became University Bookstore.

A new student center feature that opened in 2012 is Mizzou Pharmacy, a branch pharmacy of MU Health Care. It offers a convenient place to pick up prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine, as well as essentials such as shampoo, bandages and facial tissue. Mizzou Pharmacy also delivers prescriptions to faculty and staff in campus office buildings.