Augustana Bookstore to Become ‘Ole’s Outlet,’ Reimagined into Merchandise Store and Online Textbook Platform

By Keeley Meier '20 | April 06, 2022
Ole's Outlet

Beginning June 1, the Augustana University Bookstore will transition to an on-campus merchandise store called Ole’s Outlet, and a separate online textbook platform is now available.

Ole’s Outlet will take the place of the current bookstore, which is operated by Barnes and Noble, and become a merchandise store run by MRG Sports and Promotion, a Sioux Falls-based retailer. The store will sell Augustana-branded merchandise, along with school supplies.

“MRG will give us a lot of flexibility and variety and work with us on the product and designs offered within the store — it’s a true partnership,” said Suzie O’Meara Hernes ‘97, senior director for community engagement & strategic partnerships. “We also chose them for the solutions and services they provide. They are able to provide the product, unique customization and operate the physical store, as well as the online store. Their staff will run the store, but they want to employ our students, too.”

Textbook rental and purchasing options are now available through the Augustana Online Bookstore beginning with the summer term, through a partnership with Akademos, Inc.. 

The new textbook platform operates completely online, and students are able to have their textbooks shipped to their home or campus address, while digital course material is emailed to them. The online bookstore offers new, used, eBook and rental textbooks, along with the ability to post and sell textbooks on the website's marketplace.

“We wanted to reimagine the bookstore and how it’s operating, so we went through a series of provider evaluations,” O’Meara Hernes said. “Ultimately, we evaluated a number of merchandise providers, but having that local connection with MRG — its service, product and solutions provided the best option, as did Akademos.” 

O’Meara Hernes said the transition aligns with Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030 and its mission to engage the surrounding community. 

“Being the hometown team, we want the Augustana brand out in the community, and I’m excited about the way we’ll now be able to represent that brand,” said O’Meara Hernes. 

The current Augustana Bookstore will be open through the weekend of commencement, on May 21-22, for students to return or sell back textbooks.

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