THON Merchandise Store Opens In The HUB
A project five years in the making, the THON Merchandise store officially opened today on the first floor of the new HUB. The store, one of the many features of the HUB’s expansion project, features current THON merchandise, providing supporters the opportunity to grab gear without having to wait for a merchandise sale.
The idea for the THON store was born in 2010 alongside the plans for the HUB expansion. THON overall at the time, Kirsten Kelly, decided it would be a good way to increase support for THON throughout the year, while also raising funds. The store offers the opportunity for all customers to get their hands on THON products, a benefit to older members of the community who have not been able to make merchandise sales in the past.
The store will be staffed by the THON Merchandise committee, with captains running the counter and processing payments and committee members working in the store on a volunteer basis. The committee will be responsible for everything from sales and distribution to restocking the shelves and behind the scenes merchandise organization.
With the store serving as a new feature for the committee, there is no projected number for how much the store is expected to add to merchandise sales, however the total is expected to increase. This is due, in part, to the increased availability of the merchandise.
“If we’re out of something one day, [buyers] will be able to come back a week from that date and get that product, instead of just giving up, ” said Nick Hope, the THON 2015 Merchandise Director.
While the store will be more work for Merchandise in addition to the committee’s existing responsibilities, Hope sees the experience as a rewarding one for the volunteers. There will still be sales of THON swag at events like Family Carnival and the THON 5k, but all of the products will now additionally be available in the store. During THON weekend, however, the store will likely be closed as to allow committee members to focus their efforts on sales at the BJC.
The 2015 THON merchandise will be available until the 2016 logo is announced, at which point the store will clear off the shelves to make room for products with the new designs. Hope says that there may be promotions in the future where gear from the past is sold, but the store will focus primarily on the current year’s merchandise.
The THON store will hold its grand opening this Monday, and will feature a cash-free sales system. All in-store transactions will take place on cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Lion Cash, and checks. The store in the HUB will allow for returns and exchanges, an option not available to buyers in the past, and will offer an increased focus on customer service.
“With the store, we’ll have longer and more flexible hours and be able to work with people more,” Hope added. “We have a lot of ability to uphold our mission even more with a physical store, and really make strides toward increasing pediatric cancer awareness and bringing in more money toward hopefully finding a cure to cancer.”