According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, MBS Textbook Exchange in Columbia was just purchased by Barnes & Noble Education. This is a big deal given that the Tribune reports that MBS employs over 800 employees and is the 9th largest employer in Columbia.
So, I was kind of surprised when local media reported it and didn't give any mention on what might happen to the local employees. I tried to find some answers in the Columbia Daily Tribune article. Just a lot of talk about how excited the people at Barnes and Noble Education are about the acquisition. KOMU-TV has the story, too. They, too, seem to just be quoting from a press release.
With a purchase like this, one of three things is going to happen. The local operation will stay the same, it will grow, or it will shrink.
Shrinking, obviously, would be bad news for Columbia. At a minimum, one would hope they keep their current operations going here with a strong, local workforce.
So, I emailed their corporate office and asked. Marcia DeMaio, the Senior Corporate Communications Specialist for Barnes & Noble Education, forwarded to me the following statement from Patrick Maloney, the President of Barnes & Noble College, who said the following:
"MBS will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Education, operated as an independent division, and we do not expect there will be much change to the day-to-day operations of the MBS workforce. Barnes & Noble Education and MBS are two complementary businesses that have worked together for years and share similar cultures. This transaction is about growth, and we believe employees will have more opportunities over time as part of a larger company with a better ability to serve customers. We are thrilled to have the MBS team join Barnes & Noble Education."
So, there you have it. If true, that's good news for our local economy, and even better news for those employed by MBS.
Indeed, if they could grow the operation, that could be even better news. My hope is that our friends at Barnes & Noble Education are wildly successful, fall in love with Columbia, and expand here. Coupled with the announcements that United Airlines will add daily flights to Denver and additional flights to Chicago, plus the news that American Outdoor Brands will bring 150 jobs to Boone County, this could be a great week.
Of course, Barnes & Noble's true commitment to Columbia remains to be seen. Actions, not words, will be what ultimately matters. Here's hoping that this is an acquisition that is a win-win all the way around, especially for the 800 plus employees who helped make MBS Textbook Exchange a company worthy of national interest.
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