According to Garry Drake, the manager of retail services as well as a University of Saskatchewan (USask) alum and a former Huskie athlete himself, it isn’t just about buying or selling merchandise. “Retail services isn’t just about getting people the latest USask gear, it’s about helping to source learning materials and transferring the funds we earn to supporting students across campus,” said Drake.
Retail services generates its own budget, receiving no funding from the university and any surplus is put back into a fund that supports student services. “When you shop at the Shop USask Bookstore and Shop USask at Preston Crossing you support your university, and it’s going to make a direct impact on somebody,” said Drake, “the more we can provide back, the more we can enhance university services.”
Retail services operates out of the Shop USask Bookstore in Marquis (currently closed due to COVID-19) and the Shop USask store at Preston Crossing which is open not only for purchasing clothing, but it has also served as the pick-up site for all course materials. “We’ve been shipping books to students but we wanted to make sure we had a spot in Saskatoon for pick-up as well,” said Drake. “Over the last few weeks we have received thousands of orders and our staff has been hard at work to ensure textbooks are ready for pick up as quickly as possible.”
In addition to physical textbooks, Shop USask Bookstore has been working with instructors to come up with unique solutions to the challenges that come with students studying around the world.
Beyond supporting services here at the university, Drake feels that buying USask merchandise helps enhance the feeling of community and pride associated with being a member of USask. “This is especially true right now with the shift to remote learning,” said Drake. “No matter where in the world someone might be studying, we’re all part of the USask community.”