UMBC's victory over No. 1 Virginia has made history for more than just the university’s basketball team. The UMBC Bookstore is experiencing some firsts of its own.
“We are getting phone calls, emails, [messages on] Twitter and Facebook. We walked in today and had 2,000 online orders overnight,” said Erin McGonigle, the university book store’s marketing, online sale and course material initiative manager, on Saturday night.
The number of orders later increased to 3,091, surpassing last year’s total of 1,495 online merchandise orders in just days.
“It’s crazy,” said McGonigle, adding that the store has been filling orders for hats, T-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts from all over the country, some which included special notes to their recipients, like "I told you they would do it!"
The surge in orders, however, has come at an interesting time. Because the university is on spring break, the campus is closed and some of bookstore’s full-time and student staff are on vacation. McGonigle had to get special permission to have available staff pull orders on Saturday, she said.
Still, that didn’t stop students and employees from volunteering to come in. The bookstore director Robert Somers stated that staff contacted him after the game to see when they could come in and start pulling and packing orders, which is all done from the campus store.
“We’re not that small of a school, but our bookstore is kind of a small town bookstore. … We had bare bones staff to do the orders, and we worked from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only dented maybe one-tenth of the orders that came in,” said McGonigle, who as an alumna was surprised to see this moment. She said she and other alumni staff “were looking around, like "did you think you’d see that?"
Students “came in and worked their little tails off to help us. It’s incredible. We had all of our vendors calling to help merchandise and to reorder,” she said. “We have to reorder everything. We are getting tons of emails, like ‘I want my stuff now!’ We’re working very hard.”
To celebrate UMBC’s win, McGonigle has already designed two new shirts and put in a 2,000-piece order from Ohio-based company Blue 84. One shirt will say “We Made History” and will list the score. The other will say “All Bark and All Bite” and “History has been made,” along with the score of the game and the names of both teams.
McGonigle said the Blue 84 company had planned to print T-shirts overnight and will drive them from Ohio to Maryland in hopes of having them at the UMBC Bookstore by noon Sunday. The store will be open from noon until 7 p.m., she said.
McGonigle added that managers and employees will also work overtime on Monday and Tuesday when the campus is closed from “light to dark” pulling orders around the clock. The store will only be open to the public if they receive permission from the university, she said.
“We are a campus store, so we are UMBC … This is just incredible. Every single person is dedicated to serving UMBC and serving the community, and we will all give everything we can to give the best customer service and get these orders out as quickly as possible,” McGonigle said.
As for the next couple of days, “It’s going to be crazy,” she said. “But it’s going to be fun.”