Campus Book Mart a one-stop shop

Petre Thomas

Oxford Citizen

Campus Book Mart has been in Oxford for 25 years. But it’s only been in the current location for a few months.

Back in May and June, the store began a transition from the old location in the Oxford Mall. For a while they maintained both locations.

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Now Campus Book Mart is located in one place, the Oakwood Plaza Shopping Center between Anytime Fitness and Johnson's Discount Furniture.

Store Manager Matt Johnson said they are enjoying their new home, but it’s still a work in progress.

“We got the move started over the summer, and that way people coming back for school in the fall would know where we are,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of parking here, and actually inside the store we’ve increased our floor space from 12,000 to 14,000. So those are all good things.”

Of course there was a lot of parking at the old location. But there were some problems that developed over the years.

“Gameday was an issue over there,” Johnson said. “There was some gridlock. It has free parking, but we had to fight for our spots. Some people would go shopping, then they would go to the game and leave their car. It was an interesting issue every gameday. Here we feel like that will be more consistent.”

Johnson said Campus Book Mart is always on the lookout for new products to sell. One of those is highly popular these days.

“Fifteen years ago there was no Landshark,” he said. “Things change. We always get new items coming in, and now we have room to grow when we add new items.”

Campus Book Mart has much more than shirts and caps and other Ole Miss and gameday items. Of course, that is a large part of their business. "Back in the ‘70s, that’s how Campus Book Mart started out, as a textbook store with a few t-shirts," Johnson said. "Now after it has expanded over the years, we depend on both.”

There are other things that also go along with the book side of the business, as well as textbooks.

“We have supplies like notebooks, pens, backpacks, canvasses. We have a lot of local artists that come in to buy things," Johnson said. "We have someone in the store that paints. We have another lady who has taught art before, and she orders a lot of our art supplies.”

So Campus Book Mart has Ole Miss souvenirs, like caps, t-shirts, car flags, buttons and other accessories to support the teams and school. But it also has school supplies and college supplies and that can come in a variety of forms.

“We think of ourselves as a one-stop shop. You can get your gifts here, and you can also get your textbooks here,” said Johnson, who started working at the store as an Ole Miss student and has been in the store manager position since earlier this year.

As Ole Miss has grown, so have the challenges of making sure there are enough supplies to sell to the students and faculty.

“Every year we look at the enrollment and say ‘We sold this many, and now there are this many people here. So we’d better go with this many.’ That’s the business side of it,” Johnson said. “And now there are access codes used by some professors and publishers, and that’s a one-time use. It’s like your own personal code. You get on the computer and you open your book, type in the code, and it’s gone forever. It’s just yours. You can’t sell it back.”

So as things change, the business model in most regards stays the same.  And Johnson is pleased to be a part of it in Oxford.

“I like being here. It’s easy to want to sell to Ole Miss fans and to want to be around them,” Johnson, a native of Natchez, said. "It’s a fun job.”

And it’s a business that is now in a new location, just down Jackson Avenue from where it’s been for more than two decades. And still going strong.

To buy online, go to the Campus Book Mart website, which is campusbookmart.com/um.

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