Up and Across the Street to McGoldrick!
Cayley Bowman, Community Editor
The University Store used to reside on the floor of the skywalk in Abromson, tucked in a corner. However, when the McGoldrick Center was built, the University Store gained a new home. Right across the street from the previous location, now lies the new and improved University Store, beckoning students, parents, alumni, staff, and
prospective students with its shiny new look.
The staff of the University Store spent the summer moving from Abromson to McGoldrick with the help from Facilities and movers. “It was a team effort,” says Catherine Johnson, the General Manager of the store. Although the location in Abromson 218 was 710 square feet and the new space in McGoldrick is only 500 square feet, the staff of the store made it work by carefully selecting furniture with built-in storage for overstock far in advance. Abromson 218 became the new location after the old store was lost in the old Woodbury Campus Center to a flood in 2019. Even though it was never meant to be used for the University Store, it allowed the staff to regroup and get back to business after such a misfortune. The new location in McGoldrick was built specifically for the University Store. “We are grateful to be able to work in such a beautiful space. The whole building is awesome; our students deserve a nice place to hang out” says Johnson.
Over the first two weeks of school, the new University Store has had many students, faculty, staff, and community members stop in to either do shopping or to see the new building. “Personally, I have really enjoyed meeting the residents of our new dorm,” states Johnson. The new dorm houses not just returning upperclassmen, but also students from SMCC, which may be included in the visitors to the store. There have also been improvements and upgrades to the online store, which has seen an increase in foot traffic as well. The store in McGoldrick is the schools only official retail location, but there is a small retail section remaining in the old Abromson location. “We plan to distribute caps and gowns for USM’s 2024 Commencement there. The primary function of the space at 218 Abromson is where we hand out pre-paid orders from https://shop.usm.maine.edu/ or usm.eCampus.com, as well as a receiving center for deliveries of merchandise that will be sold in the new store,” says Johnson. When it comes to which location naturally sees more foot traffic, Johnson believes that both have pros. “Abromson 218 is near the skywalk which sees a lot of foot traffic. McGoldrick is equally if not more bustling but the biggest difference is that many pass through Abromson whereas McGoldrick is a destination,” says Johnson. However, she notes that combined with the new Portland dorms and being on the same floor as the dining hall, the McGoldrick Store has already seen more visitors than the old store had.
The change in location is not the only new thing that the University Store has seen. Many items in the McGoldrick store are new and came in over the summer, just in time for the big move. Johnson states that the Julia Gash collection is among her favorite things that is sold at the new store. “It is a series of items with a hand drawn ‘doodle’ style of some of our buildings and symbols by artist Julia Gash. My favorite of these items is the tote bag. I worked with the artist on this design and I’ll let you in on a few secrets: the hands on the clock point to 7 and 8 as a nod to our established date, the goldenrod and asters are a nod to the pollinator garden, and the skateboarding grad is based on a real person that skated around the Gorham campus about 60 years ago in her graduation regalia,” says Johnson.
The staff of the University Store is now left managing three different locations: the store at McGoldrick, the prepaid book pickup in 218 Abromson, and the prepaid book pickup in the Gorham campus library. Although managing this many locations is a new challenge, they had the summer to open and work things out. The staff of five are not the only employees there, student workers being an integral part of the University Store. Although the old Ambromson location only allowed a certain number of student workers, the third location in McGoldrick has doubled the number of workers. “With the added location we were able to hire additional students and we now have approximately 20 student workers,” says Johnson.
The University Store is as bustling as ever in its new location and is not expected to slow down in the foreseeable future. Whether you are looking for school supplies, snacks, or merchandise, this is the place to get it. Stop by and check out the new location in the McGoldrick Center, you can’t miss it!