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Students create '80s-themed online store with help from UA BookStores

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University of Arizona Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences students have partnered with UA BookStores to create a completely student-run online store. 58 students in an e-commerce class were tasked with creating a theme revolving around anything they want. 

“The students would have to theme it,” said Kathleen Kennedy, an associate professor of practice in the Norton School. “I provided the platform but everything else was created by the students.”

The students ended up developing a store with a throwback theme centered around the 1980s.

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The objective was to teach students about e-commerce. Kennedy explained that the students will learn more about having a business if they create one. This was a learning opportunity for some and a lifetime opportunity for others.

“Everyone always thinks about how they want to start something,” said Nick McCoy, the head copy editor for the website. “And if I wanted to, now I can because of the experience.” 

Students came up with everything from the name to the design to the marketing. Creating a website was a first for the students, and some said they found it hard to figure out but worked through the kinks in the end. McCoy described how things would not be able to get done if another team couldn’t finish their task first, but they needed to figure out how to perform that task.

“The Human Resources team went all out, “said Kennedy. “They wrote a whole list of rules and policies and procedures.”

The Uof80s website will be live until Dec. 12, featuring select, retro-inspired products from the UA BookStore. The idea was brought about because the timing aligned with Homecoming and alumni visiting the university. But the task was daunting, nonetheless.

“We had seven classes to build this website, so we really had to utilize our time wisely because there wasn’t time to push anything back,” said Brittany Knoll, a member of the marketing team. 

The partnership was a big part of the project, according to Kennedy. Without the bookstore and the grant from the Norton School, the task would have been nearly impossible.

“Creating a website is costly and if I had to put the money out of my pocket, this project would not have been possible,” Kennedy said. “I’m grateful to the Norton School for the grant.”

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The team also got help from the UA BookStores with any and all questions they had about retailing, the items that could be used and setting up contacts.

“The students deserve all the credit. I was just facilitating the experience, but any time they had questions, they figured out how to do it,” Kennedy said.

The money that is made from the website will go back to the bookstore. According to Kennedy, Uof80s will remain a learning tool for students and will not be for-profit or business.


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