WLU Topper Thrift Welcomes All Students

Marketing major Braidyn Reed, Dr. Vishakha Maskey, and Professor Tina DeWitt outside the Topper Thrift Store

The Topper Thrift Store located on the first floor of Main Hall officially opened its doors this semester and is looking to continue its growth moving into the spring. Available items start as low as $1 with nothing hitting above the $10 mark.

Topper Thrift has a wide variety of clothing items available, with new pieces hitting the shelf every week. There are several styles and sizes to choose from, with everything from professional attire to everyday fashion.

Throughout October, the Topper Thrift Store racked up 120 sales interactions with the hope that things only continue to build. “We’re planning on opening more next semester,” said Tina Dewitt, professor of finance and business at WLU and a driving force behind the store. “We’re actually incorporating it into some of our business classes. For example, management is going to vision and mission, our marketing club is creating some marketing for it and the social media class is going to create a full social media plan.”

Part of the initial thinking behind the project was to push sustainability and bring attention to the positives of sustainable fashion on the hilltop. Management and Economic Professor, Dr. Vishakha Maskey “The whole purpose and idea in the beginning was to create a culture of sustainable fashion, lifestyle and living.”

Not only does Topper Thrift open the door to more sustainable practices at West Liberty and provide the campus community with a shopping source, but it also provides students an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in market research, marketing campaigns, social media management and much more. “Since we’re so isolated, and a lot of the time we do assign some volunteering, service learning, project base learning, students will struggle because they say they don’t have a car. So we wanted to create a space that is more experiential learning and allows us to collaborate with other departments,” said Maskey.

The nature of the thrift store opens up a multitude of opportunities for groups from all across campus to get involved. Topper Thrift has already begun to work with the geography department, social work and the department of education. “Another collaboration we are already doing is working with the sustainability club, which is mostly science students, and we are super excited about that,” said Maskey.

Part of the push to bring Topper Thrift to life came from students working with the store as part of their class projects. “We wanted true data from students for the store,” said DeWitt. “I did a couple different brainstorming activities in my classes and have lots of raw data that was then used.”

Braidyn Reed, a senior marketing major, is one of the students leading the Topper Thrift initiative and gaining practical marketing experience. “I sent out a campus wide survey to faculty and students basically gauging who was interested which I received a lot of positive feedback on,” she said.

One of Reed’s main goals for the store is to see it advertised more regularly around WLU before she graduates this coming May. “I’m hoping to help create a bigger social media presence with it,” she said. “A couple people gave recommendations to hand out flyers in the breezeway or play music in the hallway to entice people to find it. So, I think my goal is just to help get more people in here.”

You can find the Topper Thrift store on the first floor of Main Hall across from the Student Learning and Development Center. You can also follow the Topper Thrift Instagram account. For more information, contact DeWitt, Maskey or Reed by email.