Photo for Best Student-Run Business: Soda City Thrifts

Best Student-Run Business: Soda City Thrifts

By Gracie Bryant

When COVID-19 hit and classes shifted online, fourth-year advertising student Gray Thomas took a leap of faith and created Soda City Thrifts. 

Soda City Thrifts exists to provide second-hand inventory from across South Carolina to customers as an outlet for people to express themselves in a creative, unique and affordable way. Inventory is constantly rotating based on the best thrifting finds — including everything from vintage shirts to Carolina gear — so it’s important to claim an item when you see it! Customers can purchase items via Instagram direct messages or in person at pop-up events. 

Through hard work, consistent effort and a great support system, the business has continued to grow over the past year. 

“I did take the risk of starting the business, but SodaCity Thrifts would not be able to be where it is today without the help from one of my good friends Lillian Barnes,” Thomas said. “Also, in the beginning stages of the business, my group of friends were incredibly supportive and helped spread the word. But most importantly, having faith in God and trusting his patience allowed for everything that came to fall into place.”

While Thomas wants to continue growing the business and reach goals such as amassing 50,000 followers on Instagram or opening a store, it’s about more than the numbers. 

“My main goal for SodaCity Thrifts comes from the passion of handpicking a piece of clothing that someone else can express themselves with,” Thomas said. “To me, it's not about the brand names or how much you can sell an item for, but instead, seeing customers around Columbia wearing that T-shirt or sweatshirt they bought from SodaCity Thrifts.” 

Winning Best Student-Run Business is a great honor to Thomas, who thanked all that have supported him along the way. 

“It really means a lot to see something that you build from the ground up and take a risk on receiving notice for being the best student-run business at a university that means so much to me,” Thomas said.

Follow (and shop) Soda City Thrifts at