Poag Named College Bookstore Manager of the Year
Bookstore manager Dana Poag already has a stellar reputation on the campus of the University of Science and Arts, but thanks to a recent award, that reputation is known throughout five adjoining states as well.
Now in her third year as USAO Bookstore manager, Poag has been named Store Manager of the Year by Texas Book Company (TBC) for her attitude, leadership and dedication.
Ever humble, Poag said it’s all about the people.
“My favorite thing about working at USAO is the family atmosphere and the passionate people,” she said. And working with college students? “Their energy! They amaze me at how bright they are and how strong their belief systems are.”
Poag holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing from the University of Oklahoma. No stranger to serving the community’s needs, she has served as the vice president and campaign chair of the Grady County chapter of United Fund. She is a former president of the Chickasha Kiwanis Club and is a senior member. She also is an honorary member of Junior Social Workers and serves in the Philanthropic Educational Organization, which raises money for international and low-income students.
Greenville, Texas-based TBC has been operating for more than 30 years, serving thousands of bookstores located in every state. Originally a textbook supplier, a branch of the company began managing college bookstores in 1982. Poag was selected from the company’s 25 bookstores on campuses in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana.
TBC Vice President Pam Keeling said that several factors are considered for the Store Manager of the Year award, including quality financial reporting and budget adherence, a healthy financial return for the year and what she calls “outstanding merchandising.” The final criteria is active participation in the campus community, a feature that Keeling said comes naturally to Poag.
“Dana is always out there,” said Keeling. “She has always had a high visibility on campus and has promoted USAO not only within the company, but throughout the state.”
In addition, Poag has been promoted to the title of Buyer for the entire chain, assisting store managers elsewhere with merchandise options. Keeling said that the USAO Bookstore is used as a measure for bookstores in other states.
“She has outreach within the division,” she said. “She helps with general merchandise for the organization, which helps since we can bring other stores in line with her store.”
Each year, TBC provides a survey to the university administration for evaluation. Poag’s survey came back shining.
“She has done such a super job at USAO,” said Keeling. “Ever since she came to Texas Book, she’s been a leader. We’re proud to have her on our staff as part of our company and part of our family. We really love her.”
And although Poag works for TBC, she serves the USAO and Chickasha communities. USAO President John Feaver said that her management style has reflected well upon both herself and the university she represents.
“We’re all extremely proud of the fact that she was honored, and it brings honor to the campus,” Feaver said. “I’m not at all surprised. She has transformed USAO bookstore operations from being a kind of sideshow to one of the crowning jewels on campus.”
For Poag, transformation has been part of the long-term management process.
“When I began, we were in the basement and off the beaten track,” Poag said. “Now we are in a newly renovated space in the heart of the Student Center. We now have a beautiful patio with awnings and festive lighting.”
Plenty more than a textbook and office supply store, the USAO Bookstore offers trendy t-shirts, chic backpacks and an assortment of colorful flip-flops. Shoppers can find USAO emblemized gifts for practically every price range, from teddy bears and mugs to blankets and polished gold-plated clocks.
For morning-goers, fresh gourmet coffees and bagels provide an aromatic awakening.
Most of the store’s items were chosen and designed by Poag herself, including t-shirt and gift designs.
“We have complete autonomy in ordering all the items, so I get to choose or create all the graphics and merchandise you see,” said Poag.
The responsibility of that autonomy, said Feaver, is one of Poag’s distinguishing characteristics.
“It attests to her intuitiveness on how to manage a business,” said Feaver. “She has done a superb job and we are all proud of the work she has done for the university.”
The USAO Bookstore is located on the corner of 17th Street and Alabama in Chickasha. Hours of operation are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Poag and her husband, Steve, live in Chickasha. In her free time, Poag said she enjoys walking and reading.