With shelves stocked with mugs sporting a variety of crests and racks lined with lettered sweaters, University Shop has served the needs of Bradley greeks for the last 45 years.
University Shop, located at 1829 West Main Street, sells an array of greek-affiliated items ranging from hats to jewelry. Owner Carol Senn said she came up with the idea to operate a greek-oriented store in Peoria because of the success she had in a similar business near Western Illinois University in Macomb.
“I had a store [in Macomb] first,” Senn said. “[Macomb] was a college town, [the idea of selling greek merchandise] has been around forever, I guess. It’s all I’ve ever done.”
Senn said she first entered the business due to her sewing experience and a growing demand for stitched lettering on greek apparel.
“I needed a job, and I could sew,” Senn said. “That was kind of at the beginning of sewing letters on [clothing] because at that time, I guess they just did a press-on flock letter. They didn’t really do stitched before.”
While Senn retains her brick and mortar location on Main Street, in 2014 Senn began utilizing Etsy, which allows people who typically hand-make products to sell them online. According to Senn, selling online through Etsy is the best way to reach her customers.
“That’s just where the market is right now,” Senn said. “That’s all of our business.”
Though Etsy does allow Senn to reach new customers who may not otherwise be available to her, Senn handles all the shipping of her products personally. Despite the extra effort required to ship the products, Senn said she still encourages Bradley students to use the Etsy platform to shop at University Shop.
“Just [try] us out on Etsy,” Senn said. “Then you don’t have to walk on down here; you can just order it on there.”
University Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.