Ask an Antelope: Len Fangmeyer spreads school spirit

It’s the start of a new semester and UNK gear is flying off the shelves at the Loper Spirit Shop. While you’re shopping for merchandise, buying school supplies or picking up textbooks, you’ll likely meet the man who runs the store inside the Nebraskan Student Union – Manager Len Fangmeyer.

Fangmeyer has worked on campus since 1999, but didn’t become an official UNK employee until last year when the former Antelope Bookstore became the Loper Spirit Shop.

The Deshler native graduated from Central Community College with a degree in business administration and an emphasis in management.

Why did you choose this career path?
I’ve always had an interest in business, people and numbers. I am pretty good at customer service, building relationships and selling products at a fair price.

What brought you to UNK?
I stumbled upon this job. I was looking for a management job as my first goal was to be the manager of a Target store. At that time, Target did not promote from within to the executive positions. I liked Kearney, so I started applying for jobs.

The Antelope Bookstore was looking for a manager; I applied and got the job. I thought it was to be a short-term job as I knew nothing about running a college bookstore. UNK leased the space to contracted book vendors and was on the last year of a contract. I did enough that UNK renewed the contract for another year, then another two years, and eventually, I managed the store for Nebraska Book Company, Validis and Barnes & Noble before UNK decided to operate the store on its own last summer.

Tell me about your role and how you serve campus:
At the Loper Spirit Shop, we carry products students need to succeed in their academic endeavors. I always tell students and parents, especially at New Student Enrollment time, that we can be a resource. If I or my staff do not have the answer, we will find the person to lead them in the right direction.

We want this to be their store. I’m proud to say that we have the best selection and service and make it a fun place to visit to see new offerings and the latest trends. When we have vendors come to visit campus, we try to involve students in seeing the new merchandise and get their input. So, when they see new products in the store, they can tell their friends they helped select them.

For faculty, I currently serve as the liaison between them and the UNK Online Bookstore. I ensure they have everything they need and want for their classes without delays so they can successfully lead their classes and give students the best experience they can.

For other Loper fans, we constantly work on keeping up with industry trends along with local requests to have the gear customers want to show their school pride, whether at an alumni event, sporting event or just around town.

What is your favorite merchandise at the Spirit Shop?
I love hats and visors, but lately I am possibly showing my age as I am migrating toward quarter-zip sweatshirts and polos and away from hoodies.

What do you love most about UNK?
The campus community. I can tell you I have developed friendships with people across campus; it’s not just my department or my building. UNK truly is my second family. Whether things are going good or bad, I have a lot of support across campus.

Share a fun fact about yourself:
My wife Michell is a lifelong Kearney resident, and both my kids have played or are currently playing trombone in the Kearney High School marching band. I hope someday they will be Lopers.

Most people know it, but I love to play pickleball. I keep nets and paddles in my office in case someone wants to play. Lately, I’ve seen more faculty and staff playing. We should have a faculty/staff tournament, and I would love to see UNK develop a club team.

In my “spare time,” I work part time at Kearney Parks and Recreation as a league supervisor for softball and basketball, as well as help with the community Olympics and Senior Games.

“Ask an Antelope” is a Q&A series highlighting UNK faculty and staff and their impact on the campus and community.