What SFU Needs: A dollar store that actually sells things for a dollar(ish)

Our retail options need to recognize the emptiness of some of our bank accounts

Why buy two items for $50, when you can buy 40 for the same price? Illustration: Nicole Magas/The Peak

By: Jennifer Low, Peak Associate

All too often I find myself in need of a random niche item, only to realize that the nearest dollar store is at the bottom of the mountain. The SFU community provides several convenience stores, grocery stores, and retail shops — but not a cheap variety store. What gives? Where’s our dollar store?

What We Lack:

A store on campus that sells inexpensive items. Not SFU branded. Not super high quality. Just dirt cheap and easily accessible. Things like:

  1. Cheap school supplies. No store on campus sells poster boards, glue, tape, etc. for less than extortion prices. 
  2. Low-cost kitchen supplies. What do I do if I urgently need a colander at a moment’s notice? My dinner depends on it! 
  3. Inexpensive cleaning supplies. Some of us are OK with the off-brand selection. Let us have it!
  4. Cheap hair ties and other everyday items essential for classes, tests, and labs. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to function. 
  5. Those cheap, wonderful, dollar store decorations. Some student clubs are using lined pieces of paper to decorate their events. Let’s have the cheap holiday decorations to finally entice more than two students to attend a party.

The Vision:

Imagine walking to Cornerstone and seeing the bright neon lights of Student’s Frugal (SF) Dollar Store, a majestic wonderland where a plastic broom or a scented candle is only a dollar. Finally, broke students will have access to basic necessities that are actually affordable on a student budget. Whether it’s garden wire, glitter, fake flowers, or a kazoo, the SF Dollar Store is a student’s one-stop shop for all random, cheap item needs. Having a social event? No one does snacks or environmentally disastrous disposable plates and plastic foil decorations like the SF Dollar Store. Forgot you have a poster-project due tomorrow morning and can’t decide between saving your GPA or paying rent? The SF Dollar Store is here to help!  

Why We Need It:

Part of what makes a university a community is providing access to services that acknowledge all students’ needs. Dollar stores recognize that not everyone has the money to pay for high-end, sustainable products. By situating a dollar store within the heart of the UniverCity community, SFU can acknowledge and help mediate the economic struggle many of their students face. The bottom line is we are broke af, and not everything on campus needs to break our bank accounts.