April 18, 2013

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CampusBookRentals Hires New COO, Plans Expansion

Di Lewis

April 18, 2013

CampusBookRentals is getting ready to grow. As the company looks to add an office in Salt Lake City, Scott Klossner has joined the company as chief operating officer. Klossner has served on the company’s board of directors for the past two years; he was previously CFO at Backcountry.com

“We’re fairly young,” says CEO Alan Martin says, “but there’s a lot on the horizon for us and we want someone who’s been through that.” Martin says Klossner’s experience will help the company through multiple hurdles and help CampusBookRentals grow a lot in the next five to 10 years.

Klossner says the transition from outdoor retailer to books is definitely a shift in perspective, but maybe not as large a shift as people might think. In terms of impact for customers, company growth and the quality of people at the company, Klossner says it’s very similar, and the opportunity to make a big difference in a relatively young company is what attracted him to CampusBookRentals. The company is at a similar stage of development as Backcountry.com was when he joined it, he says.

Klossner says there are many reasons a company can go from nothing to making tens of millions of dollars—anything from luck, great innovation or good people can play a part. “You’d like to think you’re a genius, but sometimes you’re just lucky.”

The next stage is more challenging, he says, with the company needing systems, controls and more people. “To me, that’s the real sweet spot in business, moving it from this stage to a half billion in revenue. Entrepreneurs love the camaraderie, but in my experience, it pales in comparison to watching this thing grow to such a critical mass that you grow to be a dominant force in the industry.”

“The truth of the matter is the reason I’m here is these guys are really on to something. It’s really dynamic and you can feel the energy when you walk in the building,” Klossner says. “It’s going to be a fun ride.”

As the COO, Klossner’s will bring together the different entities within the growing company to work toward the same goals. He will also nurture new parts of the business without neglecting older services.

Klossner will be instrumental in the company’s growth, says Martin, who has expanded CampusBookRentals from an online-only textbook rental company to a software and technology company that is now partnering with brick-and-mortar stores.

“As the company gets bigger and more complex, we need highly sophisticated people that can come in and maintain balance,” Martin says of Klossner joining the company.

And balance will be needed as CampusBookRentals is shopping for a location to add to the company. While no location has yet been finalized, Martin says the decision to add a Salt Lake location was made for two main reasons: it will offer greater ease of access for visitors and make it easier for CampusBookRentals to recruit talent.

It’s difficult to get people from Orem or Salt Lake to come to Ogden, so the physical expansion will also expand the pool of people to draw on. The logistics center will stay in Ogden, Martin says.

While Martin is excited about coming to Salt Lake, he is concerned about the effect on company culture. “We’ve created a pretty cool culture up here, reached a certain level of success,” he says. “I’m nervous that by doing this, there’s a chance that it affects culture. So I think we need to be pretty mindful of that.”

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