Upholding tradition at the Mizzou Store

Homecoming weekend brings big business to the campus store.

Beyond the black and gold, The Mizzou Store is built on community and tradition. When you walk into the store, you’re almost always greeted by a friendly face: Marjorie McKenzie, a 49-year employee of the store.

McKenzie is a testament to tradition. She is known among students and professors for her sweet demeanor and routine location. She started out working in the clothing department during a busy rush in January 1967, back when the only actual clothing items sold by the store were sweatshirts and gray T-shirts.

She became a cashier after a year of working in clothing, and she then became a greeter after retiring.

McKenzie has worked every semester of her nearly 50 years at The Mizzou Store, excluding her first after retiring.

A bustling Homecoming weekend is one of McKenzie’s favorite times to work.

“I like it when it’s busy. It’s a lot easier when it’s crowded and I see a lot of people. Time goes faster,” McKenzie said. “I’ll usually get a smile. You know, once in a while the kids walk by busy with their headphones, but I usually get a smile.”

Taylor Halliburton, a cashier at The Mizzou Store, agrees that homecoming creates an enjoyable atmosphere to work in.

“The crowds are fun. People typically buy tiger ears, necklaces, and, of course, Homecoming shirts,” Halliburton said.

The Homecoming T-shirts were designed by junior Cameron Rolf.

“It makes me really proud to think someone else likes something I made enough to wear it,” Rolf said. “It's funny though because, at times, I think my friends are more proud of what I made than I am. I actually had one friend tell me that he loves wearing his shirt so much because it makes him feel like a proud dad. Hearing stuff like that always makes me smile.”

Michelle Froese, assistant director of strategic communications at The Mizzou Store, said that when it’s a gameday weekend, profits increase, especially for Southeastern Conference games. Profits also surge on “black-out,” “gold-out” or “stripe-out” game days.

The time of the game and weather also play a large role in sales. “The perfect storm for profits is a later-afternoon SEC game,” Froese said. “Especially if it starts out a little warm and gets chilly. People want to buy sweatshirts in that type of weather.”

Froese said that contrary to popular belief, Homecoming is not necessarily the most profitable weekend at The Mizzou Store. Family Weekend is often more profitable, due to the large influx of alumni and parents with students to buy for.

“Homecoming weekend is not just about football,” Froese said. “It’s about tailgating, the experience of coming back. People still want that black and gold T-shirt.”

Edited by Katie Rosso | krosso@themaneater.com

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