June 24, 2019 | 72° F

Rutgers alumnus sets up pop-up thrift shop on College Avenue

You haven't seen the last of the 'Thrift God'

Photo by Instagram |

Ché Stout, a University alumnus and retail reseller who operates under the alias Thrift God, opened a pop-up shop on the steps of Brower Commons earlier this month, featuring 90s hip-hop and sport-inspired fashion.

Stout began selling pieces from his personal collection in 2009, but he began collecting vintage items two years prior and has since continued the tradition, he said.

After deciding to grow out his hair in 2012, he began bidding off pieces from his hat collection, Stout said. He sold more than 100 hats and built his reputation as a notable vintage item retailer.

While at the University, Stout said he occasionally sold some of his items but paid less attention to marketing his business. After graduating, he left New Jersey in hopes of saving money and properly pushing his merchandise through Instagram and Depop.

“I did my first ever pop-up gig in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at an Afropunk after-party this past August, and that went absolutely amazing," Stout said. “Really, that's what got the ball rolling for all of this.”

After closing the store for a few months, he decided to reopen this past July, feeling that he had saved enough to give the business a proper go, Stout said. He decided to begin planning more in-person events at parties, local shows and conventions.

“I thought back to one day in my freshman year, where I had set up a table to try and sell a shirt I had designed,” Stout said. “With everyone coming back to campus in a few weeks, I realized I had a great opportunity in front of me. And thus, the idea for the Rutgers pop-up was born.”

After speaking with a supervisor at the College Avenue Student Center, he received official confirmation to set up shop, Stout said.

The store opened in September for about a month and proved very successful, Stout said. The business runs independently under him as he currently handles all business ventures while thinking of new ways to integrate others.

“Every day definitely had different challenges, but being out there, talking to all the people I did and having all the experiences during made it so, so worth it,” Stout said.

A pair of 90s Oakland Raiders winter overalls by Starter were among the most coveted items by students, Stout said. Other items included flannels and a 90s forest green Adidas jacket with three black/white stripes wrapped around the torso.

“You would've thought I was taking meal swipes for these things the way they sold out. Too fast, I tell ya,” he said.

Rutgers is the first University Stout has visited as he looks to spread his pop up into the Tri-State area and throughout the East Coast, he said.

“There's a pop-up market at Penn State in December that I'm currently applying for. Fingers crossed,” he said.

When asked if he would return, Stout said, "Oh, absolutely. Spring semester. I'm working on trying to get my streetwear up, along with getting some bigger brands and just a whole lot more gear.”

Christian Zapata

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