Odyssey to sell College clothing and more

Founded in 1963, the independent Odyssey Bookshop has sold textbooks for Mount Holyoke students since 2001 and often co-hosts events with faculty, student organizations and departments.

The Odyssey Bookshop in the South Hadley Village Commons will be the new purveyor of all things Mount Holyoke College: from T-shirts and sweatshirts to coffee mugs and diploma frames — and much more.

Some items, which are often referred to as “spiritwear” or “spiritgear,” will be available June 15. A much wider selection will be available by July 1, and a full complement by the end of August, in time for the fall semester. The Odyssey’s contract to sell College spiritwear begins in June.

The Campus Store in Blanchard Campus Center will be open during Commencement weekend and through Reunion II. After that it will close for good and the space converted into the student life hub in the new Community Center.

Shannon Gurek, vice president for finance and administration and the College’s treasurer, has led the committee overseeing the move.

“When we were planning the new Community Center, our goal was to design the very best use of the building,” Gurek said, “with the focus on improving student life and creating better spaces for students to gather.” With the Campus Store slated to be reconfigured, the committee needed a new location to sell spiritwear, and its members immediately thought of the nearby bookstore.

“We have a long relationship with the people at the Odyssey Bookshop for textbook sales,” Gurek said. “They’ve wanted to take over selling spiritwear and College merchandise. It seemed like the right time to give them the opportunity.”

The transition to the Odyssey will end a long relationship between Mount Holyoke College and Follett campus stores, which has operated in Blanchard for many years.

“Ending our relationship with Follett was not an easy decision,” Gurek said. “They have been a partner for many years and we will miss their presence on campus — especially the store employees who have been serving our community for decades.”

The Odyssey will carry a wide variety of College-branded items, said Joan Grenier, the store’s owner, including clothing, baseball caps, lanyards, pennants, plush lions, key chains, cell phone wallets, water bottles, travel mugs, glassware and many more items.

Grenier noted that she will order some items from Alta Gracia Apparel, which she said is the only collegiate apparel company that pays a living wage to its workers.

“The Odyssey is very excited about the opportunity to develop an even closer relationship with the Mount Holyoke community of students, staff, faculty and alumnae,” she said. “We are researching new items to carry and keeping up with evolving trends. We welcome suggestions of products that the College community would like to see the store carry.”