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Fifty Thrifty: Buckeye Bargains celebrates 50 years at OSU

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A Buckeye Bargains’ customer searching for their next purchase. Credit: Tinae Bluitt | Lantern Reporter

A Buckeye Bargains’ customer searching for their next purchase. Credit: Tinae Bluitt | Lantern Reporter

Brutus Buckeye is not the only Ohio State staple to recently reach its 50-year anniversary. Buckeye Bargains, the university thrift store, also hits the half-century mark this year.

Marjorie K. Fawcett, the wife of former OSU president Novice G. Fawcett, founded the university thrift store in 1966. Located in the basement of Converse Hall, Buckeye Bargains is open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. when classes are in session.

Fawcett was a member of the University Women’s Club, which operates Buckeye Bargains to this day.

The purpose of the thrift store was to help students on a budget get gear and supplies for their dorm or apartments, as there were limited shopping options in the university area back then.

All of the proceeds earned at Buckeye Bargains go to scholarships. It is estimated that the store has raised almost $600,000 in the last 50 years, said Bonnie Stevens, who has been involved with UWC for 27 years.

“Every cent we earn goes to scholarship,” Stevens said. “It is really fun to see where the money goes.”

Students who demonstrate high academic ability and a need for financial assistance are awarded the scholarships, and they are recognized at the UWC’s monthly meeting at the Faculty Club.

“We are really doing a good thing down there,” Stevens said.

Jamie Luster, a fourth-year in public health, said she stumbled across the store while walking past Converse Hall one day in late 2014, and now she is a faithful shopper.

“I try to go almost every week,” she said. “They have pretty much everything and the volunteers are always really friendly.”

Shoppers can find a wide arrange of items in the store. Credit: Tinae Bluitt | Lantern Reporter

Shoppers can find a wide arrange of items in the store. Credit: Tinae Bluitt | Lantern Reporter

The mission of UWC is to create a social space for members to foster friendship, promote intellectual and moral development and provide scholarships to students who need support, according to the UWC website. The group at OSU was founded in 1895.

Arma Schmidt, a member of UWC, has been at Buckeye Bargains for the store’s entire 50 years.

“One of the things I enjoy is the way I can keep in touch with the campus,” she said of volunteering at the thrift store.

There are currently about 40 volunteers at Buckeye Bargains, and they are all members of the club.

Stevens mentioned that her favorite part about volunteering at Buckeye Bargains is the people and the sense of community.

“I love the customers,” Stevens said. “We know what they like and what they don’t like.”

Stevens said it’s a wonderful experience to see customers get suited up for winter at such a reasonable cost.

“Prices are really low,” Stevens explained. “(A customer) bought a coat for $3, gloves for $2 and a hat for $1.”

Even though the store has been successful in providing for many students, Stevens said it is unfortunate that not many people are aware that a campus thrift store exists.

“It’s so funny that no one knows about us,” Stevens said. “Everybody should come down and check it out.”

While the store is only open on Wednesdays, Buckeye Bargains accepts donations on Tuesdays between 9 a.m. and noon.

3 comments

  1. Too Bad Hours Aren't Longer

    I think the reason no one else goes is because the hours are during the workday. If they were open after work, they might see more campus staff/faculty using the store. The only people that can visit during those hours are those that work by Converse Hall (I don’t even know where THAT is).

    • Thank you so much for your feedback! We appreciate it! We realize that the hours at Buckeye Bargains may not be convenient for everyone, and for that we apologize. The shop is run by all volunteers, so that limits our ability to expand our hours. To assist you with our location, Converse Hall is where the ROTC is located. You can access it off of Lane Avenue, east of the OSU ice rink and west of The Blackwell and the Fisher College of Business. Hope that helps! From Buckeye Bargains

  2. Its a shame I never heard of this when I went to school there in the early 80’s

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