Best Student Run Business: Soda City ThriftsBy Violet Raftery
For the second consecutive year, Soda City Thrifts has been voted Best of Carolina’s Best Student-Run Business. The business offers local customers unique apparel and a community focus.
“Soda City Thrifts LLC is an apparel company specializing in selling hand-picked second-hand and vintage apparel to the student body at the University of South Carolina,” Founder Gray Thomas said. “It operates mainly on Instagram and in-person pop-up events.”
The business has been operating in the Columbia area since Thomas established it on March 22, 2020.
“The inspiration came from my passion for thrift shopping and finding unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing while supporting the local community,” Thomas said.
Thomas later added a business partner, Zachary Christensen, who values the Gamecock community just as much.
“The university means so much to us, being Gamecocks,” Christensen said, “to have the support of the community that we’re most involved in.”
After all, they are students, too. Christensen is a business management major with a concentration in human resources and a minor in psychology, and Thomas recently graduated with a degree in advertising and a minor in media arts.
And it is their fellow South Carolina students and the greater Columbia area that have been the focus. The customers and the community mean everything to Christensen and Thomas.
“Operating a business on (USC)'s campus is amazing,” Thomas said. “The community of Columbia and the Gamecock student body has played a major role on shaping who I am today, and I am so grateful to have had such an amazing opportunity to serve them. I will forever be a Gamecock and the University of South Carolina will forever hold a special place in my heart."
And for anyone looking to do what Thomas did, he recommends just jumping in.
“The best advice I can give to other students looking to start their own business is to just start it,” Thomas said. “If you have a vision and are willing to bet on yourself, then the best way to learn is through experience and making those mistakes.”
For Thomas, taking that risk has paid off, and it has earned his business another Best of Carolina recognition!