6 Management Lessons from the University of Oregon 'Duck Store'

The University of Oregon Bookstore

How is the University of Oregon future proofing their campus bookstore? UBTech speaker Daniel Rasmus shares his interview with Jim Williams, longtime manager of the U of Oregon book store.


I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Jim Williams, the soon-to-retire manager of Oregon's The Duck Store, to discuss what he has learned about management during his 36-year relationship with The Duck Store. Although The Duck Store, like all college stores, sits at the evolutionary vortex of retail, education, and content, Williams doesn’t believe the future of college stores or retail will be driven by technology, but by service.

Williams is only third manager to nurture The Duck Store over its 92-year history. At $42 million in revenue and a staff that varies seasonally between 300 and 350 people, The Duck Store is not a minor operation. And in all of its locations, the mantra of Ducks serving Ducks is reinforced by practices built on respect, leadership, and empowerment. Here are six lessons that embody those traits.

Lesson One: Reflective Learning The Duck Store is part of a learning institution. Williams and his team don’t just hire people to stand behind counters or help locate merchandize. They hire people who know about their topics...