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State-themed shop opens doors at Ohio Union

Joseph Craven / Lantern Photographer

Station 88, the Ohio Union’s newest addition, is finally open.

Tucked away just off the Grand Hall of the Ohio Union, the store features Ohio State merchandise along with convenience items.

To some people, it seemed as though Station 88 had been there since the Union opened last spring, said Ryan Wallace, a retail intern for Station 88.

“It kind of struck me as funny. Probably 90 percent of the people who walked in here thought we were here the whole time,” said Wallace, a third-year in finance and accounting.

Although the Union opened at the start of the Spring Quarter, Station 88, whose name represents the 88 counties in Ohio, took longer to open to the public because the management wanted to solidify partnerships for the store, retail manager Cynthia Harris said.

The store also had a time-consuming bidding process for contractors looking to work on the store, Harris said.

Many of the partnerships they were working on were with Ohio-based businesses, including partnerships with companies such as Longaberger and Hartstone Pottery, Harris said. Many of the products in the store are homegrown or made in Ohio, she added.

“We like to say it’s a store for Buckeyes by Buckeyes,” Harris said.

The store, for which construction costs totaled $242,500, also features artisan products by students who have been hired on a consignment basis by the store, Harris said.

Students working on consignment basis apply through an open call and have their products featured for a quarter, Harris said. Students are chosen based on what products will be best for the store at the time, but there is no limit to how many students can be chosen.

“It’s a way to keep the store fresh,” Harris said.

This quarter, two students’ products are being featured in the store.

“Students who are glass blowers have given us some glass,” Harris said.

The store, which is competitive with similar stores on High Street, also features novelty items such as crocheted Buckeye necklaces and goat-milk soap.

Other products include unique Ohio items not necessarily specific to OSU. For example, graphic T-shirts with slogans like “C-Bus” are for sale.

The store tried to couple OSU products with practical items that students need, Harris said, so there is an array of convenience items, such as pens and paper, for sale as well.

“There’s still the traditional convenience items, but there’s also so much more,” said Kellie Uhrig, the director of marketing communications for the Office of Student Life.

Station 88 is also a UniPrint location, so students will be able to use services such as self-service and full-service copying and printing, large format printing, binding and UPS shipping services. The store will have various game day specials throughout the year, Harris said, along with other promotions and special events.

The grand opening of Station 88 featured specials such as two-for-$25 t-shirts and $10 off the exclusive Buckeye Rain Boots, which were designed specifically for the store, Harris said.

The rain boots have been one of the hottest items in the store, Harris said. She said those working with the store try to find products, like the rain boots, that will make students proud to wear or use them.

“We want the store to be a store where students have pride,” Harris said.

So far, so good, said Wallace.

“We had a great day. I think the store looks beautiful,” he said.  

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