Greek students at the University no longer have to drive to Detroit, Lansing, or even Bowling Green, Ohio, to purchase items that are essential to fraternity and sorority life.
Located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti, about 15 minutes from the University campus, Greek Desires carries Greek paraphernalia such as T-shirts, license plates, doormats, key chains and paddles.
The store opened last month to cater to both Eastern Michigan University and University of Michigan students of the Greek community.
Store owner LaToya Holmes, a graduate of EMU and former member of the Greek system, said her own undergraduate experience motivated her to open the store.
“Shopping for Greek stuff was very inconvenient. We had to drive to stores far away, like in Detroit, and the stores there didn”t have good hours. It was very difficult to just get there let alone have the time to shop,” Holmes said.
Many Greek students at the University of Michigan have never been able to see items sporting their own Greek letters or symbols before purchasing them.
“Right now, we have to order stuff online or by catalogs. It”s not the worst thing, but its not ideal,” said Burke Raine, an LSA senior and president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Having a store geared specifically toward the Greek community “would make buying things like cups, party favors, sweatshirts, and T-shirts with Greek logos and letters a lot easier,” added Raine.
Although Greek Desires is located in Ypsilanti, “it”s still better than what we have now,” said Kate Gagleard, an Engineering senior and president of the Phi Sigma Rho engineering fraternity.
The University Greek students can also take advantage of Student Buyers” Association, a cooperative that works as a connection between Greek houses at the University and various vendors to provide discounted rates to its members. About 60 Greek fraternities and sororities are part of SBA.
“I would prefer that (students) go through the vendors we offer when they are buying in bulk,” said Judith Raymond, general manager of SBA. However, Raymond added that for smaller, individual purchases, stores like Greek Desires are in a great need near campus, which has 4,100 students involved in the Greek system, according to the Office of Greek Life.
Holmes said she plans to implement online ordering system to customers within the next few months. The store”s website is located at www.greekdesires.com.