A Thrift Shop With a Purpose

A typical day at Panther’s Closet: PBSC students and employees pick up bargains, while Honors College students gain entrepreneurial acumen.

A student-run thrift store called Panther’s Closet opened in March on the Lake Worth campus. The store, which caters to PBSC students, faculty and staff, sells new and gently used clothes, shoes and accessories for $1 each. All proceeds go to PBSC student financial needs.

Proposed by PBSC Trustee Wendy S. Link, Panther’s Closet is managed by students in PBSC’s Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College as part of a one credit-hour community-based course offered each semester. Marcella Montesinos, Honors College manager and PBSC alumna, oversees the store and says students not only get business experience, but also develop valuable people skills. “They learn teamwork, leadership and communication. It’s a teachable moment every time they’re inside Panther’s Closet.”

Initially a classroom, Panther’s Closet was transformed into a store over the summer using materials donated by HPS Schönox, Tandus Centiva and Commercial Flooring Distributors.

Support from Bank of America

At the official ribbon-cutting ceremony in August, the College received a $45,000 donation from Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support Panther’s Closet and Panther’s Pantry, another initiative to help students. The closet received further community support that month when the Gardens Mall hosted an event, “Cocktails for a Cause,” at the Nordstrom Court. Admission was the donation of gently used clothing.

PBSC President Ava L. Parker says Panther’s Closet further illustrates the heart of the College. “We understand the importance of giving back. We understand that we are better not just because of what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others.”

Panther's Closet Ribbon Cutting