Friday, March 11, 2016

President's Update: March, 2016
Julie Banks
President, ICBA Board of Directors

It is a great honor to serve as your president. I am looking forward to this opportunity and believe ICBA is positioned perfectly to effect change over the coming year. Some have called me crazy to take on this role with a new baby, a new boss, and an upcoming store renovation, but I welcome the challenge!
The bookstore industry is always changing, which means there is never a dull moment. We see opportunities to improve, evolve, and institute new methods to best serve our customers. 
Reflections on Our Conference
ICBA 2016 in Orlando Florida - what a great Conference it was! Sarah Quinlan from MasterCard Advisors set the right tone with a highly engaging presentation regarding consumer trends, and what she identified as great opportunities for unique specialty businesses, like college bookstores. What followed was a succession of outstanding educational sessions, exposure to new ideas and new technologies, and of course opportunities to share ideas with colleagues who are out front in the industry. The overall experience made this year's conference one of the best ever!

Also, the return of the Apparel Institute was a big hit. Forty-five participants, ready to be empowered and inspired, were challenged by faculty and coaches with the most rigorous and relevant curriculum in the industry. Networking with faculty, coaches, and peers created bonds and trusted partnerships that will pay dividends for years to come. The end result? Confidence and the critical skills needed to improve personal performance and the performance of our stores. Keep an eye out for the announcement of additional institutes in the coming months!
Passion and Engagement - Keys to ICBA Success
Member engagement is what makes ICBA great – our passion for the industry, our support of one another, and our active involvement in and with the organization. It is so important that ICBA member stores participate in ICBA programs – attend the webinars, support our vendor partners, and take an active role in the continuing success of ICBA by giving feedback and promoting engaged membership.
I am excited about the future of ICBA, and I believe this is going to be an important year for all of us. Our organization will grow and change, and we will all benefit in the process. I hope that you will stay close to ICBA, support our great programs and embrace your independence!

     Julie Banks
     President, ICBA Board of Directors

Friday, August 21, 2015

A note from the President of the Board of Directors of ICBA

President's Update: August, 2015
Arlyn Schaufler
President, ICBA Board of Directors

With many of us already immersed in the frenetic activities associated with rush, I’d like to take a moment to share a few updates and reflect on the topics of the recent board retreat.

The ICBA Board recently returned from our annual retreat and I can honestly say that we are energized with our commitment to being the foremost advocate for independent college bookstores. It is a pivotal time for bookstores and our industry is facing many challenges; however, ICBA remains uniquely poised to be the leading resource for stores by providing our members with the education, key partnerships and communication that they need to succeed as independent stores.

High-Value Education
We strive to provide our members with the highest quality education that leads to innovation and that, ultimately, leads to a positive impact on store performance. This comes in many forms, but most specifically through our ICBA Retail Conference. Planning for the 2016 conference is well under way and just this week we opened registration for Stores and Vendors. As in the past, you can expect to engage with industry thought leaders through meaningful and relevant sessions and participate in valuable networking with peers.

For 2016, we are adding the additional opportunity for apparel buyers to receive formal training through our Apparel Institute, which takes place immediately preceding the ICBA Retail Conference. The Apparel Institute will offer a comprehensive and challenging curriculum to help apparel buyers at all skill levels. Industry experts will provide Buyers with curriculum developed specifically for the college retail market, at the same time allowing for meaningful interaction between peers.

More imminently, though, we are gearing up for our Fall Season of webinars. Our webinars are crafted to feature insights and case studies from peer institutions, industry leaders and vendors. Stay tuned for more details which will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Vendor Partnerships
ICBA strives to remain responsive to our membership’s needs and one way in which we make this happen is by leveraging our resources across key vendor partnerships. In particular, we are working to provide our stores with exclusive offers from high quality vendors and service providers that will contribute to increased profitability and customer satisfaction. We’re excited to report that we have already onboarded several new vendors and are in the process of qualifying more.

One topic that resonated throughout the retreat was our need for increased communication to our members. With that said, we will be planning regular communications going forward, both from the ICBA staff and the Board. Acknowledging that communication shouldn’t be a one-way street, we’d also like to hear from you. Please keep an eye out for occasional inquiries from ICBA about how we are doing and what challenges you encounter that we can help address. And, if you are not already, please follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook so you can keep apprised of the latest from ICBA, our partners and industry news.

A Fond Farewell
It’s been a lot of work, but the new ICBA office is now up and running in Chicago! Sadly, with the establishment of our new office in the Windy City comes the winding down of our operations in Ashland and I would be remiss to celebrate new faces without taking a moment to recognize some very familiar ones. Stacy Waymire, Skye Carlson, Charlie McChesney and Tammi Raikes have worked diligently behind the scenes for the past few months, preparing for the transition to the Chicago office and ensuring that everything is done seamlessly. At the end of this month, the Ashland office will officially close and we will say goodbye to Charlie and Tammi. Skye will stay on through the end of September while Stacy will continue working with the new ICBA staff through the completion of the ICBA Retail Conference in February 2016. The Board and I cannot express enough gratitude to Stacy, Skye, Charlie and Tammi for their dedication to the organization and most importantly, to its members. They have been ICBA’s advocates, friends, and family throughout the years and have tirelessly worked to bring ICBA’s mission to life. We will sincerely miss them and wish them all the best in their future endeavors and successes! 

My Best,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

President's Update: March 2015
Arlyn Schaufler
President, ICBA Board of Directors

With all that is happening at ICBA, it is difficult to decide where to begin my first “Update” as ICBA President.  Our 2015 Retail Conference, in my opinion, was our best ever.  Every educational session was outstanding, vendor meetings seemed active and productive, and the energy from owner networking, as always, was amazing.  Based on my short visit to Atlanta, the positive buzz carried right into CAMEX.  But now, the attention is on change -- change on an unprecedented level.
ICBA Headquarters Relocation 
Ever since the WCBA expanded its vision and became the Independent College Bookstore Association, each successive Board of Directors has discussed moving the organization from Ashland, OR, to a “hub city” that would make ICBA more accessible to its growing member base and the participating vendor community.  In 2013, the Board made the commitment to relocate the offices when Stacy Waymire chose to step down as Executive Director.
As you all know, Stacy made that decision last year, and after a wide and vigorous search, Fred Weber was named CEO of ICBA.  Since Fred is a native Chicagoan, and the Windy City, in many ways, is the center of our market, ICBA will be relocating to Chicago this summer.  As a transportation hub, Chicago will make it easy for the Board of Directors, our members at large, and both current and prospective vendor partners to visit, meet, and exchange ideas about how ICBA can help lead the way for independent college stores.
In a related move, and with full Board participation and support, Fred made the decision that all full-time ICBA staff must work from the ICBA office.  Given the size of the organization and the need for frequent communication and maximum innovation, it seems right that the ICBA staff work side-by-side every day.  I think we all have had the experience of an informal, unscheduled, spontaneous conversation leading to a solution that might otherwise not have been proposed.  This is a policy that several large companies have recently made, and one that, I believe, will benefit ICBA in the long run.  Our expectation is that the ICBA Chicago office will be fully up and running by August 1, 2015.
ICBA Staff Reorganization 
In addition to providing the occasion for ICBA’s relocation, Stacy’s decision to reduce his time commitment to the organization also prompted a review of the ICBA staff structure.  With the pace of industry change only accelerating, the Board instructed the Transition Team to conduct the CEO search with a focus on strategy and leadership development.  Reflecting this priority, the new staff position, Chief Operating Officer, was created to bring more of these skills to the executive level of the organization.
It was our good fortune that during the search process, the Transition Team was introduced to Jon Bibo.  Co-founder of Bibo-Walsh Retail Consulting Services, Jon has over 25 years experience in the college store industry, including 6 years with the Case Western Reserve Bookstore, 15 years as VP of Sales and Marketing at NACSCORP, and 6 years as VP of General Merchandise for Follett Higher Education Group.  Jon has accepted the new position of ICBA COO, and has hit the ground running since his March 1st start date.  While Jon’s focus will be primarily on program development and strategic planning, he has been working closely with Marty Duncan to ensure that our vendor partners stay informed and connected.
As with many changes, however, there can be undesired consequences.  In our case, both Marty Duncan and Skye Carlson have chosen not to follow ICBA to Chicago, and over the summer, they will be transitioning out of their respective positions.  Together, Marty and Skye have given 20 years of dedicated and loyal service to ICBA, helping us to become the preeminent organization representing independent college stores.  Marty and Skye have been the face of ICBA to many members and vendors.  They have worked tirelessly to help ICBA programs set the standards of excellence in our industry.  They will leave an important and valuable legacy to the future of ICBA.
Marty and Skye are both committed to the successful relocation of ICBA to Chicago and the smooth transition to a new team.  They already have been working on plans to bring their successors on board and to use existing programs as platforms for delivering more value to all ICBA stakeholders.  Just as our past success has depended on their efforts, so, too, will our ability to manage these important changes as we move forward in this great industry.
Some Things Will Not Change 
Although ICBA will have a new home and a new staff, the important things that have set us apart will not change.  As Board members, Ambassadors, and members old and new understand, ICBA’s commitment to innovation, willingness to step out and lead, and the passion of our members for both the industry and our organization have been the foundation of our success.  Although our offices will be in Chicago, and there will be a few new names on the staff roster, the ICBA mission and values will remain rock solid.  It is our intention not tochange the ICBA culture, but to leverage it for the benefit of our owners, our vendor partners, and the independent store channel.
Moreover, because the challenges we face are great and our resources are limited, we are committed to collaborating with other like-minded organizations.  A small ICBA delegation will join teams from Indico, NACS, CCRA, and CRA, in early May, to prioritize our opportunities, and when possible, combine our resources to maximize the impact that we can have on the industry.  These are challenging times, but there are opportunities for independent stores to make a difference in the lives of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other customers of our stores.  It is our intention to realize these opportunities, and in the process, to build the strength, reputation, and influence of the ICBA.  I will do my best to keep you updated on our progress on all fronts with periodic “Messages.”  Please stay tuned.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fred Weber Named Executive Director of Independent College Bookstore Association

October 17, 2014 – Fred Weber, one of the foremost and respected collegiate retail leaders, has been named Executive Director of the Independent College Bookstore Association effective January 1, 2015.

Since its inception in 1927, Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) continues to be the only professional business cooperative dedicated exclusively to institutional stores. Annual sales of ICBA stores vary from $1 million to over $50 million, with an average annual sales of $10 million, and total sales of over $1.4 billion.
Weber has held a number of executive positions at the Follett Higher Education Group, including Senior Vice President Wholesale and Distribution Services, Senior Vice President Strategic Planning and Communications, and Vice President Sales and Marketing. In his new role, Weber is responsible for leadership and administration of ICBA in unison with the ICBA Board of Directors.
Weber holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a Masters of Business Administration. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate classes at De Paul University in the Driehaus College of Business.
“Fred is a high energy, forward-thinking executive, with an impressive performance record,” said ICBA President David Kent. “We look forward to his dynamic leadership at a historic time in both the history of ICBA and of the independent college store channel. Fred brings the innovative spirit that aligns precisely with ICBA’s culture and strategic vision.”
“It is with great enthusiasm that I assume the Executive Directorship at ICBA, the most highly respected and productive organization in the industry,” said Weber. “I look forward to delivering new value to the owners, new opportunities to vendors, and continuing strong collaborative initiatives with ICBA’s strategic partners.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"It used to be that companies were built to last. Now they are built to change.”
– Lori Mitchell-Keller, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Retail for SAP

Executive Director Update 

Greetings ICBA!

ICBA is designed to be a nimble organization driven by change, improvement, and innovation. Beginning in the spring of 2013 the Executive Committee of the ICBA Board and I began a process of establishing a structure that will support the ICBA of the future. During their July 2013 strategic retreat, the Board of Directors dedicated their time to evaluating all aspects of ICBA including governance, committee operations, the role of the Executive Director and staff, our member market, our use of technology, and existing and future programs and services. Among new initiatives has been a major reorganization of ICBA staff. Our most valuable resource is our people, so it is with excitement and enthusiasm that I now share with you recent changes to ICBA staff. 

Marty Duncan
Director of Member Services

Marty is our new Director of Member Services. Marty has been with ICBA for over twelve years as our Program Manager. During his tenure he has been instrumental in growing the breadth, depth and value of ICBA merchandise buying programs and management services. Marty has also played a key role in the launch and growth of ICBA PRIMEtime and Business Encounter, making them must-attend events for directors, buyers, and vendors.
As Director of Member Services Marty works closely with the Executive Director in the development and implementation of strategies for collaborative partnerships with other industry organizations. He assists in building the future value of ICBA by identifying markets, brands and products, negotiating and closing deals with vendor partners across all stages of development of merchandise and service programs. Marty will continue to direct the marketing, sales and execution of PRIMEtime, PowerHall, D&H Pavilion, Business Encounter and other vendor activities at the annual Conference and online. Marty also participates directly in the execution of membership recruitment and retention campaigns.

Skye Carlson
Media and Communications Manager

Skye is our new Media and Communications Manager. Skye has been with ICBA for over five years and pioneered ICBA’s use of social media and electronic marketing software, and has been key in the success of our ICBA Presents webinars, and our on-demand video channels.
As Media and Communications Manager Skye is responsible for the management of ICBA’s communications platforms including website, social media, blogs, email, list serves, print, webinars, video, events, and delivery of online education. She assists in the development and implementation of creative content and engagement strategies. Skye monitors communications trends and feedback to develop insights for how ICBA can engage with our members, vendors, college store industry and the higher education community. Skye also participates directly in the execution of membership recruitment and retention campaigns.

In terms of the ICBA Conference, Skye manages the Conference app, oversees speaker relations, manages on-site video recording of presentations, supervises ICBA’s twenty on-site customer service representatives, and manages the hotel room block.

Charlie McChesney
Business Coordinator

Charlie is our new Business Coordinator. Charlie has been with ICBA for over seven years most recently as our Administrative Coordinator. As ICBA’s business management processes have grown, so have Charlie’s responsibilities. As Business Coordinator Charlie is responsible for ICBA accounting, including accounts payable and receivable processing, and payroll management. She coordinates the ICBA membership database, vendor sales reporting, and store savings reporting. She works closely with our accounting firm Moss Adams, and Payroll Specialties, Inc. In addition, Charlie is responsible for the design of ICBA’s online Conference registration site and software, and supervises on-site registration and customer service at our conference. She also coordinates staff surveying projects. Charlie participates directly in the execution of membership recruitment and retention campaigns.

It is my pleasure to continue to work with Marty, Skye, and Charlie, or as we refer to ourselves, Team ICBA. We look forward to serving you.

Stacy Waymire
ICBA Executive Director

Friday, May 16, 2014

ICBA President’s Update: May 2014
David Kent, President ICBA Board of Directors

ICBA and indiCo Commit to Collaboration                                      

In my January Update I shared with you the ongoing discussions between ICBA and indiCo toward establishing a collaborative relationship to advance the independent college store channel. Today I am happy to tell you that we have reached agreements with indiCo to collaborate on several significant actions.

Last week the Executive Committee of the ICBA Board of Directors, the Campus eBookstore Board of Directors, and the indiCo Board of Directors met for two days in Denver. Our number one focus was the future of independent college stores in the digital course materials market. Following that we addressed a number of other strategic issues. At that meeting agreement was reached for collaborative actions on the following:

Campus eBookstore
Elevating and escalating industry development
A Joint indiCo, Campus eBookstore, and ICBA Announcement
The indiCo LLC Board of Directors has unanimously approved a resolution to endorse Campus eBookstore Inc. as a premier, store-centered digital content delivery platform, and further advocates that independent college stores adopt the Campus eBookstore platform as a store solution for digital delivery of course materials. Campus eBookstore, Inc. (CEI) is owned and controlled by independent college stores, was designed and developed specifically to support independent college stores, and is managed by a set of unwavering principles that are centered on both the store and the higher education marketplace (see below). 

At industry-related meetings, and through survey responses, independent college stores cited the high priority need for a common and standardized platform for stores to directly sell publisher access codes and ebooks, along with the capability for an integral store role in supporting the course fee-based model for digital content delivery.   In addition, many stores are being asked to support the distribution of Open Educational Resources (OER) and other faculty-generated course materials.  The ability to support all of these functions is found within the CEI platform.

By some estimates, the digital “tipping point” for higher education course materials will occur within the next 36 months.   When this occurs, college stores will need to have fully transitioned their business practices and be in a position to support the sale and distribution of a wide range of course material format options.   “CEI is the only platform, presently, that has kept pace with the evolution of digital course materials” says Ed Schlichenmayer, President of indiCo LLC.  “Stores will be better positioned to serve faculty and student interests in the future, and can offer their institutions the technology capabilities needed to stay relevant with the ongoing advancement of course materials.”

Campus eBookstore was formed through an initiative of Canadian Campus Retail Associates (CCRA), which functions as a technology development incubator on behalf of the twenty-two universities that own CCRA. “The future of any one store is tied to the future of the channel as a whole,” says Chris Tabor, President of CCRA. “Our ability to succeed in the course material market is not about any individual store’s numbers. It is about the number of stores.”

In 2011, recognizing the capabilities of the CEI platform were important to independent stores in the United States, the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) invested in CEI and holds a minority ownership interest.  “The market has never been more dynamic, competition has never been more intense, and our future has never been more uncertain,” says David Kent, ICBA President. “These are times that require any organization that lays claim to represent the interest of independent college stores to innovate as we have never innovated before.” With its endorsement of CEI, indiCo is pledging to work collaboratively with both CEI and ICBA in the broader effort of strengthening independent college stores as a viable collegiate retail channel.  

Campus eBookstore, Inc. Principles
  1. The Platform will be licensed or made available by Campus eBookstore for use by independent college store retailers, and will be control by independent college store retailers, and will not be transferred to or controlled by software system vendors or integrators, publishers, book wholesalers, distributors or other vendors of books. 
  2. The Platform will support the capacity for inclusion and distribution of faculty-authored content as well as commercially-available materials.
  3. The business model rules and practices used in concert with the Platform will reflect the academic nature and timings of the collegiate retail marketplace.
  4. The business model rules used in concert with the Platform will support content sales and marketing practices that offer favourable or emphasized terms for university presses and other smaller publishers as defined by Campus eBookstore.
  5. The model used by Campus eBookstore for the use and distribution of the Platform will be scalable with the ability to enable digital distribution for the broadest range of college stores (as defined by sales volume and campus enrollments).

Centralized Channel Data
Building a credible voice for the independent college store channel
To develop a trustworthy voice in which administrators can believe, requires that we have the data, knowledge and insights that authenticate our positions. Toward that goal ICBA and indiCo will invest in commissioned research into retail technology standards, how digital content is being received and experienced by campus administrators, faculty and students, trends in campus decision-making regarding the institutional college store management model, and the collection and analysis of independent college store practices and financial performance.

Professional Development
Retail training for college store professionals
Building on the success of the ICBA Institute model, ICBA and indiCo will collaborate to provide both a rich curriculum and a format that delivers the skill sets necessary to succeed with new business models for individual store staff, and the store as a whole.

Building a Committed Buying and Sourcing Service
Functioning as a virtual chain
Using the ICBA Commit-Buy-Sell program as our foundation, ICBA and indiCo will collaborate to deliver a committed buying and sourcing service to independent college stores.

As you can see, we are intent on tackling the most significant issues of our channel head-on. We continue to be guided by the ICBA Promise:
  • Exclusive institutional store sharing
  • Unsurpassed buying programs
  • Industry-leading professional development
  • Decision-making voice & pride of ownership

I will be updating you as plans unfold.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

College Stores Receive Awards: Best Practices and Top Performers
Independent College Bookstore Association recognizes 2012 - 2013 Best Practices and Top Performers Awards among College Bookstores

ASHLAND, OREGON (April 1, 2014) – On Thursday, February 6, 2014, at the ICBA 2014 Retail Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Pat McGowan from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, presented the 2012-2013 Best Practices and Top Performer Awards to seven Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) member stores.

“The ICBA operating survey is extremely valuable to our company. We use it to benchmark our results against peer stores and to see trends in our industry. It is another great benefit of being an ICBA member.” says Pat McGowan, Director of University Book Store at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

Of the 78 stores that participated in the 2012-2013 Operating Survey, 42 stores were eligible to be recognized for their outstanding performance. Criteria for this year’s ICBA Best Practice and Top Performance Awards are:

  • ICBA Operating Survey participant in each of the last five years (42 stores in contention)
  • Achieved top performances or best practices demonstrating successful execution of business strategies from 2008 to 2013.
  • Award categories determined based on review of the 2012-2013 results (not pre-determined.
  • Emphasis on more challenging areas of the college store business.
  • Performance was influenced by internal leadership, strategy development and execution
The ICBA membership congratulates, recognizes and gives many thanks to the following stores for their outstanding performance and best practices. Each of these stores demonstrates exemplary leadership within the college retail industry by establishing and executing successful business strategies from 2008 and into 2013.

The MVP Award for Overall Outstanding Performance 
MSU Bookstore, Inc.
Montana State University

  • Increased overall sales by 20%
  • Increase net income by 278%
  • Improvement across all categories in margin generation
  • 50% increase in Net Worth over 5 years

Excellence in Course Materials Management
University Book Stores
University of Missouri

  • Increased overall sales by 17%
  • Custom Published total of $900,000
  • Rental totaling more than $3,000,000
  • Forefront of much of what is new in this area

Excellence in Course Materials Management
Wildcat Shop
Central Washington University
  • Increased overall sales by 14%
  • Very aggressive in price matching
  • Maintained margin in excess of 20%

Excellence in General Books Management 
Boise State University Bookstore
Boise State University
  • Increased general book sales by 17%
  • Increased inventory turnover 29%
  • One of few stores with an increase in this category

Excellence in Technology Product Management 
Olympic College Bookstore
Olympic College
  • Increased technology product sales by 255%
  • Gross margin sustained above 16% with large sales growth
  • Increased inventory turns to 5.7   

Excellence in Student Supplies Management
BYU-Idaho University Store
BYU Idaho
  • Increased student supply sales 26%
  • Inventory turnover consistently at 3.5 turns
  • Maintained margin close to 40%

Outstanding Insignia Product Performance
The University of Arizona BookStores
University of Arizona

  • Increased insignia product sales 55%
  • Inventory turnover increased 156% to 3.7 turns
  • Maintained margin in excess of 53%

To participate in the ICBA Operating Survey, stores must be an ICBA Member. To learn more about the Independent College Bookstore Association and the ICBA Operating Survey, please contact Sadja Pals, ICBA Marketing and Membership Manager, at or 800.618.0530.


Since its inception in 1927, Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) continues to be the only professional cooperative dedicated exclusively to institutional collegiate retail stores. ICBA provides the opportunity for owners and decision makers committed to putting their schools and students first and to openly and enthusiastically share operational improvements. ICBA does this by providing exceptional programs and services including buying programs, professional development and innovative solutions. 
The mission of ICBA is to provide the programs and services that will establish the institutional store model as the preferred management solution for higher education.