PROCTOR — High school students now have more access to new and gently used clothing thanks to a new free thrift store on campus.
The store is a collaboration between Proctor High School’s Business Leadership Class and several business and community partners. It has grown from a stash of clothes stocked in the school laundry room to a chic and welcoming well-stocked store suitable for all students.
“We’ve had a few students come forward and say the school needs clothes for students who need them,” said Sarah Klyve, dean of students and coordinator of Proctor Pathways. “We had about 30 kids coming in every month, so we saw the need and the value of having that space. But we also realized that a lot of kids wouldn’t necessarily want to go to a laundry room to do their shopping. We So we started dreaming a little bigger.”
The idea was to build a space where students could grab clothes when they wanted or needed them and make it more accessible and not a needs-based space. Students in Proctor’s Business Leadership Course were tasked with creating a business plan, building awareness among community members and businesses, and using their prior knowledge of advertising and marketing to build the business.
“And the community response has been amazing,” Klyve said. “So many companies have helped us get here.”
The original closet began with a $1,000 grant from REA3D, the Proctor Area Educational Foundation and with 25 boxes of clothes donated by Maurices. When it came time to build the thrift store, Maurices once again donated large contributions of clothing. Frandsen Bank provided a $5,000 grant for the redesign; an architect from Architectural Advantage helped design the space with the students; and members of the local painters union came to donate and install wallpaper.
Other students from the school also participated in the project. The students of the school construction project have drawn up offers for the various construction projects, such as shelves, tables and counters. Construction students bought materials and also built the various clothes racks. The students also took it upon themselves to create a corner of basic hygiene products so that the students could access supplies such as tampons, soap and toothpaste.
“It was pretty amazing to see these students take the lead on this project,” Klyve said. “They took ownership of this space and did a lot to make it what it is now.”
For junior Laiken Ettestad, designing space is what makes her proud.
“I really like the way we designed it and how we did things like add plants, lighting and a rug,” Ettestad said. “It’s the little touches that make it a really cool and friendly atmosphere.”
Bryce Twaddle, another Proctor student, said he liked the variety of clothes.
“There’s a lot to choose from,” Twaddle said as he picked up a Minnesota Timberwolves t-shirt.
The store is open several days a week until lunchtime and several times throughout the school day to allow students to shop. Donations of gently used and new clothing are always accepted. Anyone with donations can drop them off from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school’s main office.