UBC Bookstore on May 28, 2020. Photo: Kerry Boultbee.

Kerry Boultbee is the Retail Operations Manager for UBC Bookstore on the Vancouver campus, now re-opened, with enhanced safety practices in place, to in-person customers.

Could you tell me a bit about your role with UBC Bookstore?

I would say my primary role is ensuring all our customers have a great experiencing shopping at the bookstore. The biggest part of this is supporting and enabling frontline staff to give their best effort for the customer. A lot of my other duties revolve around the day-to-day physical operation of the store.

Which of your department’s teams are currently working on-campus?

All of our frontline retail areas have been working to support online ordering and to prepare the store for re-opening to the public, which we were able to do this week.

How has your team’s work changed since COVID-19?

The big thing is physical distancing. Learning to consistently keep that 6 feet of separation between co-workers. We have moved workstations around to create more separation, and, as much as possible, we prop open common doors to limit people using door handles. Frequent hand washing remains important. Plus we have hand sanitizer available at every work station. Some of our coworkers with administrative duties are still working from home, and to co-ordinate our efforts with them we use email, phone calls, and Zoom meetings.

How does it feel to be providing such important services to the UBC community during this time?

It’s nice to know that even in these unusual times we can still make sure students get the essential materials to be able to continue their education. UBC and the education it provides impact the world in so many ways. I think we can all take pride in our own small contributions to this greater good.

Is there anything in particular you and your staff have been doing to keep spirits up?

We were glad to re-open the store this week and we get hope with every little step back towards normalcy. Everyone is working hard to find the best ways to continue their work with the safety of co-workers and customers in mind. There has been some great collaboration between staff to make the changes necessary to operate under these conditions.

What else would you like us to know about your team?

Our staff combined have hundreds of years of customer service experience and look forward to continuing their valuable service to UBC and the broader community.