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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Student-run exchange targets thrifty traders

    Sam Shumaker / Arizona Daily Wildcat

John Wurth, right, a senior majoring in history and manager of the Student Exchange, presents decals to Lawrence Tujillo, a business graduate student, yesterday afternoon. The store is an extension of the University Bookstore located in the Park Student Union where students can buy, sell and trade everything from clothes to video games, books to furniture.
    Sam Shumaker
    Sam Shumaker / Arizona Daily Wildcat John Wurth, right, a senior majoring in history and manager of the Student Exchange, presents decals to Lawrence Tujillo, a business graduate student, yesterday afternoon. The store is an extension of the University Bookstore located in the Park Student Union where students can buy, sell and trade everything from clothes to video games, books to furniture.

    Last spring, Eric Janezic, a mathematics junior, needed a place to get rid of his abundance of unused video games and DVDs while hopefully profiting from the transaction.

    Janezic was in luck. Trading in unwanted possessions has now become a lot easier for UA students with the installment of a completely student-run exchange store within arm’s length of classes.

    The UA Student Exchange Store, a new format of the UofA Bookstore, runs on student-donated items with the student population in mind. 

    When retailing and consumer sciences junior Claire Bates was approached about opening a new component of the bookstore in the Park Student Union last spring, she jumped on the idea. 

    “”It’s Claire’s brainchild and we are just helping her with it,”” said Chidinma Offomah, a pre-pharmacy sophomore who works at the Student Exchange.

    Bates was encouraged to have free rein. Along with partner Ashley Sanders, a studio art sophomore, Bates got to work creating an affordable buy, sell and trade store for students. With backing from the UofA Bookstore, The Student Exchange had the opportunity to provide what its founders believed the students would want, which includes low prices.

    Not only does the Student Exchange boast that it offers the lowest prices in town, but the store partners were in a “”green”” state of mind when creating the store.

    “”We wanted to incorporate the idea of reusing and going green,”” Bates said.

    The store, which is comprised of new and used goods, has a slew of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Combined with the idea of trading in still-usable but unwanted items, the pair is a match made in recycling heaven.

    “”The campus in general is going in a greener direction,”” Offomah said. “”That was also in mind when they were trying to bring up lists of what people would want.””

    Although most of the items traded are sold back to the students, items that are turned away still serve a purpose. Offomah said that every item they are unable to sell is donated to The Salvation Army.

    “”If you bring it in, it goes somewhere,”” Offomah said.

    The Student Exchange is mostly geared toward students who live on campus and might not have the luxury of an automobile. But it also provides a way to receive extra cash for those who are in a pinch. Students have the option of getting cash back instead of store credit for the items they sell.

    Janezic said that he received more money on each item he sold at the Student Exchange than he would have at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange or Zia Records.

    “”At Bookmans you are lucky to make money,”” he said.

    However, getting the store kick-started has proven to be a chore. Although the Student Exchange gets many browsers, it has been difficult to find a steady customer base. Some students also fear that the Student Exchange is an unnecessary addition to campus.

    Currently, having a CatCard is the only way to sell belongings to the Student Exchange. Bates hopes she and Sanders will eventually have more freedom to run the store and reach out to non-students. But for now, employees and shoppers hope that a wider marketing base will bring about a positive boost for the store.

    “”Right now it is really word of mouth that we are relying on,”” Offomah said. “”It’s going to get there eventually, we will have regulars one day.””

    Janezic agrees that the more students know about the store, the more selection he will have when shopping there.

    “”If you are going there for a specific thing it will be hard to find, because (the store) is new,”” he said. “”However, it’s cheaper and the money goes back to the bookstore and also provides jobs for students.””

    Despite the ups and downs, Offomah feels that they are moving in the right direction.

    “”I feel like it’s going to get bigger as more and more people know about it, and eventually we will start making an impact on the community,”” she said. “”Once we take off, anything is possible.””

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