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Lilly Posti and Alexis Sommers

Marietta College’s Lilly Posti ’25 (Burgettstown, Pennsylvania) and Alexis Sommers ’25 (Nelsonville, Ohio) claimed the first runner-up position at the highly competitive Appalachian Social Enterprise Summit Pitch Competition hosted by Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The dynamic duo presented their innovative project, the Big Blue Thrift Store, to a panel of judges, and they were impressed with their dedication and vision.

“It was an incredible experience meeting and networking with fellow entrepreneurs from the Appalachian Ohio area who are truly dedicated to making a positive impact in our communities,” Posti said. “The passion and dedication we witnessed in this community are truly remarkable, and it is heartwarming to see so many people working together to create positive change. Alexis and I are immensely grateful for the opportunity to connect with these individuals and share the story of the Big Blue Thrift Store, which is our way of contributing to the betterment of the lives around us.”

Posti, majoring in Communications, and Sommers, an Entrepreneurship major, embarked on their journey with the Big Blue Thrift Store project during their Entrepreneurial Mindset class in the fall of 2021. What began as a class project soon materialized into a reality in the fall of 2022, setting the stage for their recent success.

“Participating in the Appalachian Social Enterprise Summit Pitch Competition was a rewarding experience,” Sommers said. “We had the privilege of sharing our passion for the Big Blue Thrift Store and connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas. The endorsement of our vision and commitment by the judges is deeply meaningful to us, and we are grateful for this opportunity.”

The Big Blue Thrift Store, situated on the Marietta College campus, stands as a testament to their hard work and commitment. It is currently fully managed by Big Blue practicum students and dedicated volunteers from the student body. Their mission is multi-faceted, with a focus on offering an affordable shopping option to the College community while simultaneously reducing clutter and waste. Additionally, the store provides invaluable hands-on business-related experience for Marietta College students.

As a nonprofit thrift store, Big Blue is deeply committed to serving the local community and fostering sustainable practices. Its operation hours during the fall semester are as follows:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 12:00–4:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday: 12:30–4:30 p.m.

For more information about the Big Blue Thrift Store, please visit 2.fzcatv.net/big-blue.