The GW Bookstore offers members of Greek-letter life the chance to purchase Greek-letter apparel on its website, but the bookstore’s sample inventory is small and its prices are higher than other online retailers.
The bookstore began offering Greek-letter apparel on its website last fall, after former Student Association President Julie Bindelglass worked with the University to bring the option to the growing Greek-letter community.
When the program began last year, manager Bob Blake said the bookstore would carry Greek-letter apparel in the store if sales and interest were high. But Blake declined to comment on the bookstore’s sales numbers for competitive reasons, and said this week that the bookstore does not have the space or resources to sell apparel in-store but will continue to sell the items online.
Ryan Hayes, president of Kappa Sigma, said he is hesitant to purchase Greek-letter apparel from the bookstore.
“I doubt the school would be offering really customized services and even if they did, we would continue buying apparel online,” Hayes said. “At the Maryland bookstore and online we get a lot of discounts. It’s common knowledge that the stuff at the bookstore is overpriced.”
Greek-letter hooded sweatshirts are $53.95 on the GW bookstore’s website, compared to $35 at multiple online outlets. Tote bags cost five dollars more at GW compared to multiple sites, and T-shirts at GW cost $15 compared to $9.95 at greekgear.com. Blake declined to comment on the price differences, pointing to the “incentives” the bookstore offers.
Blake said the bookstore offers a wider selection of merchandise and runs promotions and online delivery methods to provide an incentive for GW students to buy through the store.
Jenna Gabe, president of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said she wishes the bookstore could sell apparel on campus.
“It would be ideal to have a Greek store that was similar to the Maryland store where you can get paddles and Greek paraphernalia,” Gabe said.
She said her sorority usually orders its Greek-letter apparel – everything from cups to sweatshirts – from various online sources, but would like to have an in-store alternative.
“One of the biggest problems with ordering things online is you can’t always tell what color things are,” Gabe said. “Apparel is usually non-refundable, and when you order things in bulk you want to make sure that it looks like you want it to.”
Blake said the bookstore’s Greek-letter life website’s mission is to be “the source” for students’ Greek-related needs, but Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity President Zachary Kahn said he was underwhelmed by the bookstore’s apparel selection.
“There was nothing there. I definitely didn’t say ‘Oh my God I have to go to the bookstore and get everything Greek,'” Kahn said. “Most colleges in the nation have their own Greek apparel stores but I think it’s kind of weird that we don’t.”