Georgia Lodewyk — Staff Writer
Parked just behind the bleachers of the Dordt University football field is a trailer painted bright “Defender Gold” yellow, difficult for fans to miss as they enter the stadium. Three shirts: a black t-shirt, crew neck, and a gray sweatshirt, are all displayed on mannequins to the left, proudly donning Dordt Football logos. The Campus Store has added a new location: a storefront with wheels.
According to Leah Schoonhoven, the Campus Store’s insignia coordinator, the idea for the trailer has been a dream of hers for over five years.
“I’m so excited. I’ve always wanted a trailer since I started working at Dordt,” Schoonhoven said. “That was one thing that I wanted to add to the campus store.”
Her vision included a trailer in Defender colors with the Dordt emblem on the front, a window that could flip up and down for selling merchandise, and a large door to make loading and unloading more efficient. When they found a trailer in Georgia, already painted gold, that fit what they were looking for, Schoonhoven’s vision made its way north, traveling over 1,000 miles to reach Dordt’s football field.
The new trailer made its debut Defender Days weekend, where the campus store sold shirts, hats, seat cushions, and more from the trailer, offering a discounted rate than the normal in-store price. Schoonhoven continued to adjust the inventory of the trailer, changing the items based on weather and the theme of student section apparel. Their first two home football games were met with successful sales.
“It’s exciting to see the campus store grow,” Sharla Tubergen, the Campus Store’s Book and Operations Coordinator, said.
In the five years since Tubergen and Schoonhoven have worked at the bookstore, they have seen growth and change in products sold and services offered, and the trailer is another addition they celebrate.
While the trailer was only able to accept cash and checks this year, they are planning to accept credit cards by next football season. Schoonhoven also plans to add shelves to make storing and rotating inventory in the trailer easier, and hopes that the trailer can take off to more events besides Defender football.
“I want to get one working first before we venture into the others,” Schoonhoven said. “But hockey would be good, and soccer we talked about.”
They also hope to have the trailer at large Dordt events, such as graduation, where not everyone has enough time to stop in the store, but can still benefit from the discounted prices offered. As for the trailer itself, both Schoonhoven and Tubergen envision a welcoming environment. Schoonhoven wants to decorate the front of the truck, including the Dordt logo, and maybe even set up a game of corn hole by the side.
“It’s yellow, it’s bright,” Tubergen said. “You can’t miss it, it’s inviting.”
While not offering the same clothes as in store, the convenience of the truck is an attraction that the Campus Store hopes to build on. As the campus store grows, a $10 t-shirt in one hand, a concessions hot dog in the other, all while the Defender band plays in the background could become the new visual of Defender Game days.
Photo credit: Georgia Lodewyk