Keeping Up with the Prep Shop: Online and on the Sidewalk

Jake Pease

The University School Prep Shop is a vital part of the US community. Like many other aspects of University School, the Prep Shop has been extremely dynamic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prep Shop is run by both hard working and dedicated volunteers, who are usually parents of students; and the USPA, who provides special services and events for University School students. The goal of the Prep shop is to sell US merchandise, whether in person or online, to students. Items range from clothes, to pins, to facemasks, and more. However, with new COVID-19 guidelines, The Prep Shop has been forced to adjust, while continuing to provide items safely for the students.

Adaptation has become an essential trait for all of us. The Prep Shop has exemplified adaptation through their modifications, which allow the shop to remain safe and open. According to Mrs. McMahon, the Prep Shop manager, COVID-19 protocols enforce rules that prevent volunteers from entering the building, and the shop can no longer be open during lunch time hours. These restrictions have led to the expansion of the online Prep Shop. The website, once run by Anderson Scholars, is now solely run by the volunteers. By enlarging and growing the website and its supply, there has been an increased demand and workload. Managing sizes and orders is more difficult to keep up with but Ms. Kalman has helped organize orders, so things can run smoothly. However, if online orders don’t suit you, there are still in-person sales that are run safely and efficiently.

To work around restrictions keeping volunteers from entering the building, the Prep Shop has held several outside sales after school hours. These “sidewalk sales” have been a massive success so far. Three of these sales have been held so far and have proven to be safe and effective. Leading up to the event, volunteers set up and lay out merchandise on tables provided by the US facilities. Customers then shop and get their orders processed by volunteers. These sidewalk sales are held safely with masks requirements and social distancing protocols followed. Mrs. McMahon stated, “The sidewalk sale format and online store has allowed the merchandise to be accessible to buyers”. Because the website and sales being more accessible and user-friendly, the orders have been easier to manage. Sidewalk sales have led to success so far, hence the decision by the USPA to hold at least one more before the holidays, assuming COVID-19 protocols permit.

The US Prep shop has managed to maneuver through COVID and stay successful. The online website expansion has helped significantly along with the sidewalk sales. Volunteers have worked hard to manage orders and keep events safe. The Prep Shop has plans to continue events throughout the school year if COVID-19 allows.