This year, the Book Mark has a new manager, Molly Yunkers. With the new management comes a fresh look for the Book Mark. The biggest changes are mostly moving things around.
“We’re finding different ways to feature what we already hav,.” Yunkers said.
Yunkers began her new position at the end of June this past summer, coming from a background with Barnes and Noble; this is her first experience with Gustavus. She likes to move things around; it gives the place a new look without a remodel.
“If it’s not bolted down, it can be moved, that’s sort of my motto,” Yunkers said. According to her, at least once a week something has moved; not all the displays can be up front at once.
They have a lot of talented buyers who are very on top of things, according to Yunkers.
“Judy knows books; I admire her,” she said of Schultz.
Whenever there’s an “it” about to be available for purchase, the day it’s out, it’s on the shelves in the Book Mark. For example, Inheritance, the latest installment in the Eragon book series, was just released and a good number of them have already been purchased.
Another big focus for the Book Mark is making the Book Mark more accessible to students; they would like to “incorporate more student involvement,” Yunkers said. There are comfy chairs and a little table where students can come in, relax or do their homework.
“When students have an extra ten minutes during their day, instead of them going and checking Facebook, I would love for them to come see what’s new in the Book Mark,” Yunkers said.
Also, they would like it if students let them know if there’s a gift item they wish the Book Mark had. They love to get ideas from students and what they would like to see in the Book Mark, because it’s the students’ store.
Along with accessibility, they are changing and improving their web presence, especially by making textbooks more available to students online. A huge goal has been increasing textbook rentals. Last year they implemented rental textbooks, starting with a total of six books available for rental. This fall it increased to a total of 360 books.
The Book Mark is an independent store, meaning they have a lot more freedom in choosing what to bring in. The store has a great selection, according to Yunkers, despite not being as big as, say, Barnes and Noble. They try to purchase locally when they can: currently a lot of their cards are from local sellers.
Some items that Yunkers is really excited to get out on the shelves are headbands that were made in Mankato, so those are an item to look forward to in the Book Mark. According to Yunkers, a few of the hottest items right now are the ever-popular CamelBac water bottles and the new sweatpants they have in.
Something else to look forward to at the Book Mark is the holiday sale, which starts Dec. 2, 2011, with 20 percent off most items in the store. A few other dates to look forward to in December include: January Interim Experience books going on sale Dec. 5, 2011; Customer Appreciation Day with gift wrapping available on Dec. 9, 2011; and spring semester books becoming available online on Dec. 24, 2011.
Delores L. Gregory Stark
Delores L. Gregory Stark of St. Peter, an employee at the Book Mark for 41 years, recently passed away. She was the gift buyer at the Book Mark, since coming to St. Peter in 1945.
Gregory Stark worked alongside her dear friend Beatrice Martinson at the Book Mark for many years.
“She was a very kind, gentle, quiet person. And very, very pretty,” Martinson said.
Others who worked with her described her in the same way.
“She was a dear, sweet lady,” Trade Book Buyer for the Book Mark, Judy Schultz said.
Gregory Stark retired in 1991; according to her daughter, Ann Bruggeman, it was very hard for her because she was so involved with Gustavus. The school was an important part of Gregory Stark’s life, and after retirement she often came up and visited.
“The college and the Book Mark have meant a lot to us,” Bruggeman said.
Gregory Stark was born on Jan. 30, 1927 in Braham, Minn. At age 18, she married Donald Gregory, who started the Art Department at Gustavus and worked here for 39 years. Bruggeman is their only child.
The family was very involved with Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter, along with Martinson and her husband. The couples often socialized together at Gregory Stark’s house: “It was fun to go there. You always looked forward to that,” Martinson said.
Gregory Stark and Martinson were good friends; they did fun things together all the time like shopping and going for walks exploring the caves along Highway 169, back when it was a dirt road. Also, according to her friend, Gregory Stark was a great cook.
“When I came to St. Peter, I didn’t have a very good experience, I could make brownies and hot cocoa but you kind of got sick of that. I got a lot of good recipes from her,” Martinson said.
Gregory Stark’s husband passed away in 1986. She later married Ray Stark, a local farmer and fellow member of Trinity Lutheran Church.