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Q&A with retiring UNC Student Stores director John Gorsuch

John Gorsuch

John Gorsuch

John Gorsuch, 57, will retire from his position as the director of UNC Student Stores on Nov. 30. Recently, UNC has shown interest in privatizing Student Stores. Gorsuch spoke with The Daily Tar Heel staff writer Cole del Charco about what he’ll remember from Student Stores.

The Daily Tar Heel: What made you want to retire?

John Gorsuch: I met the requirements to retire. And I feel at this point in time I’ve done a lot to promote the store and to educate the University on the value of the store and put together a strong staff for the store.

And I really hate that the timing of my retirement is during this hard point in the history of the store. We’re celebrating our 100-year anniversary and a lot of good things to celebrate, and I think the good things about the store are being promoted through the 100-year anniversary.

And then also the issue of outsourcing has caused a lot of information to go out there about the value of the Student Stores. So I really hate that the timing of my retirement is right now ... It’s not necessarily the way I wanted to write my last chapter here, but that’s kind of the way it’s worked out.

DTH: Why did it work out that way even though you didn’t want it to?

JG: This was my decision to make, and there might’ve been folks thinking otherwise ... but this was a decision I made, and it was purely my decision. It was nothing more glamorous than that. I came to these conclusions that now was probably the best time for me to go, and that’s how I made it.

I feel, as the way things stand right now, it’s what’s best for the University at this time. I love this campus and I want to see through this process of outsourcing. I want to see wise decisions made and now it’s up to the administration and the campus community — how things work out for the store in the future.

DTH: What has it been like to work at Student Stores over the past 30 years?

JG: There’s never a boring day. Every day is an adventure.

Roughly 25 years ago I started managing what was called the Ram’s Shop, now it’s called the Tech Shop ... As time went on I started taking on other areas of the store and overseeing the management of the store and until recently, 2010, I became the director of the store. And that has been, for the most part, very enjoyable and very fulfilling.

DTH: What are some of your fondest memories at Student Stores?

JG: I’ve really enjoyed the relationships I’ve had with the great employees. There has been already and probably will be until I leave, moments of tears because these folks are the next thing to family, in some cases, to me ...The customers are great, too.

This is Carolina — we’ve had lots of faculty, customers, staff and students over the years, and it’s a pleasure to work in the middle of campus. For sporting events, for championships, pulling in all those championship T-shirts when we’ve won it — that’s a lot of fun. Those are some of the memories I’ll never forget.

DTH: You said you’ve given a lot to Student Stores; do you think now is a good time for you to leave?

JG: It’s not necessarily the way I want to write my last chapter here, but I feel that the store is in a good position. It has a good staff here, and it’s a strong staff. We have a store — and the University has a store — that it can be proud of.

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