The GEO Thrift Store team has had to get creative to keep the store running despite COVID-19.

For only $1 an item, Gonzaga Environmental Organization’s (GEO) Thrift Store has been a success ever since it opened up as a pop-up shop in the John J. Hemmingson Center. Thrifting is a sustainable, trendy and fun activity that GU students are more than excited to jump into.

GEO’s thrift shop committee has been put to the test with COVID-19. GEO’s Online Thrift Store, run through Instagram @gonzagageothriftshop was just released this month. 

Before this year, the in-person thrift shop was a pop-up station in the Hemmingson Center. Racks of clothes were set up once a month and were out for up to three to four hours. Students could look through the pieces, grab it off of the hanger, pay GEO $1 and continue their day. It was made to be an easy and sustainable event.

“When we were set up in Hemmingson, we would only reach people that felt like stopping by,” Anna Sanford, GEO’s secretary, said in an email. “Now, we get to choose and highlight the items that we want people to see and that we think will sell.”

Sanford is in charge of the thrift shop this year with Alexandra Frawley. This committee, designated to running the thrift store, put together an innovative plan to keep the store alive during COVID-19 restrictions.

“It is a lot more work for our small team, and we have all put in so much effort,” Frawley said in an email. “Due to COVID, we must wash clothes, quarantine them and find safe ways for people to donate.”

Currently operating off of clothing donations that were received before the pandemic, GEO washes donations, creates outfits and then takes pictures of GEO members wearing the pieces. After this, pictures are posted to Instagram with directions on how to claim the piece of clothing for just $1.

Followers are asked to direct message

@gonzagageothiftshop with contact info and the piece of clothing they want to claim. The first student to DM the account is sent a CASHNet link to connect them to purchasing options including Bulldog Bucks and credit card.

Once the sale has been finalized, GEO members drop the item off in the mailroom with the student’s name and MSC number, mail it to their off-campus residence or meet in-person. Meeting in person cuts down on their carbon footprint, so it is the preferred method.

During GEO Thrift Shop’s first week of operation, they posted nine items of clothing and six of the nine items have been sold already. GEO is planning on posting more and more as the semester continues and as we go into spring semester.

GEO’s purpose with this shop is to recycle clothing, reduce demand and save resources.

“I think our online store has provided students with another connection to campus,” Sanford said. “We just had a student that’s studying from home in Hawaii reach out and claim an item. I also think that we’re reaching more people via our Instagram store.”

Their Instagram hours run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Check out their Instagram highlights on “How 2 Shop” if you want to review the process.

“All in all, the shift has been challenging but nothing we can't handle,” Frawley said.

Allie Noland is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @allie_noland.

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