Provenance the Web Magazine
ISSN 1203-8954 -
Vol.2 No.2 Spring 1997

BOLLUM'S BOOKS: A "Super" Store in Every Way!
- Part 2 -

- By Janis Wright


The outstanding service Bollum's provides is due to the expertise and strong work ethic of its employees. Appcoxlmately forty employment applications are received dally, but staff is chosen carefully. A love of books Is predictable, and strong consideration is given to those with areas of specialization. Self-motivation, personality, and the ability to think on one's feet are further factors.

Tom Bollum Is an entrepreneur whose philosophy influences his staff. It is not uncommon to see the president of the company on a ladder, changing a lightbulb. involvement and growth are encouraged. "Staff Picks" is a popular display of favourite paperbacks chosen and maintained by employees. Each staff member takes a turn manning the information desk, to enable a sense of participation and connection with the store and its customers.

There are incentives for promotion for industrious, responsible individuals. Employees are given ownership of the areas in which they work, and the chance to advance within the company. The store Is divided into approximately twelve sections, with a section leader in charge of each one. These leaders are rotated every six months or so to bring fresh ideas to each section, and to give other employees the opportunity to enter this new realm of responsibility. Proposals are submitted and formal interviews held.

Tom Bollum is willing to entertain new ideas and assist with work related education. This flexibility and encouragement results in enthusiastic, very hardworking staff members who often put in extra hours because they take pride in their work. Over fifty percent of the original staff continues to work at the bookstore. This is a high percentage in the retail trade and a sign of good management.

Bollum's employs approximately sixty people; this number grows closer to one hundred during the Christmas season. Specialists cover every shift to provide the best assistance for customers. Constant communication between section leaders and the two store buyers prevents stock from running too low. Night crews work in the Receiving Department during busy times, sorting continually to ensure the books are placed on the shelves as quickly as possible.

Although still developing its niche in the marketplace, Bollum's is growing quickly because of its entrepreneurial spirit. Even in northern British Columbia, colleges and universities are ordering in volume from the store, because their needs are being met. Sales for the year are greater than projected. A second store opened in Calgary in February of this year, and a third is opening soon at Park Royal in North Vancouver. Any subsequent stores will be contained to the western area of Canada. The businesses will not look or feel like members of a chain store. Each will reflect Its own community, and offer quality in every way.

Tom Bollum and his team are successful because , they work hard to provide what people want. Change is constant, but the staff is adaptable. The excellent service provided by cheerful, informed personnel in a beautiful, well-stocked environment remains the same. The consequences for customers can only be positive.

- Janis Wright

n.b. - All information obtained in an interview with Heldi Sutej, Corporate Sales Manager, Bollum's Books, 650 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, B. C. V6B 4N7

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