Nick Hope put together a few finishing touches in the Thon store early Monday before the grand opening.
He wanted to get everything just right before the doors opened to hundreds of students waiting in line to get in.
“It was rewarding seeing the line and then a packed store,” said Hope, the Thon 2015 merchandise director. “It was a very surreal experience to see it working in full force. We had a soft opening last week for volunteers on Tuesday to test out our system and on Thursday and Friday for the public, too. Everything is going incredibly well so far.”
The store’s grand opening was five years in the making. Thon 2011 overall chairwoman Kirsten Kelly pitched the idea when HUB-Robeson Center renovation plans were developed.
Never miss a local story.
“Obviously with the store there are new possibilities for us, and there will be changes to the merchandise committee,” Hope said. “The store will be able to support projects we haven’t been able to before. We’ll be able to more seamlessly track inventory, sales, peak times of sales, what sells the most, and it allows us to cater more to customers by having return policies and running a cashless system.”
The store will also enable more contact between Thon volunteers and customers. The store will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays in the spring and fall and on select weekends. Hours of operation have not been set for the summer.
“We held sales in the HUB every six weeks or so and at events like the Thon 5K and Family Carnival, but never on a consistent basis except for online sales,” Hope said.
The new operation could also require Thon’s merchandise committee, which will operate the store on a voluntary basis, to expand.
“We have a committee that consists of 21 captains, and that will increase 25-30 next year to expand with the store and grow with the needs,” Hope said. “We have 60 committee members, and depending on the next merchandising director’s decisions that could grow, too.”
The store will largely sell Thon 2015 merchandise and periodically introduce new products through the fall. The store will receive a merchandise overhaul in November or December, the approximate time when Thon 2016’s logo will be revealed.