Providing a diverse shopping experience for both community and the Freed-Hardeman family, The Belfry is FHU’s new campus store on the lower level of the Pruett Book Center (behind the Gardner Center on FHU’s campus at 158 East Main Street in Henderson). The completely renovated space provides not only traditional textbooks and campus apparel, but it also offers boutique-style clothing in school colors from The Pearly Peacock (owned by FHU alumna Emily Ward Hayes), gifts and other items. Individuals can choose from a number of Bibles in stock, also.
The Belfry opened Saturday, Aug. 19, the day new students arrived on campus. A special presentation Tuesday, Aug. 29, introduced students to the origin of the campus store’s name and everything they can find in the new space. FHU alumnus and current FHU parent Hayes Holland wrote an old-school rap that he performed with social club presidents Eli Combs, Ty Crowley, Gabe Matherley, Tyler Thomas and Luke Wamble, along with future FHU Lions Grady Clayton and Enoch, Eli and Ezra Woolard. The group led the student body in the song with fog and cold sparks, while throwing t-shirts from The Belfry into the audience.
That day also began a campus-wide hunt for 15 bells (representing the university’s 15 presidents); when individuals find bells hidden on campus, they can return them to The Belfry for prizes, ranging from The Belfry gift certificates and merchandise to gift cards from area businesses, including iTech Rescue, Southern Chic Spatique and Besso’s Coffee.
The store’s name, The Belfry, represents the spirit of being an insider and valued member of the FHU community. By definition, a belfry is the inner chamber of a bell tower that houses the bell. FHU Hospitality and Merchandise Supervisor Rachel Woolard suggested the name to administration, with the hope that the community would regard The Belfry as a gathering place and even placed a bell near the door for customers to ring.
“We especially thank Jarred Clayton, Rachel Woolard, Courtney Insell, Jason Brashier and Tracie Shannon for making this dream become a reality. They have created a space that is welcoming and where every guest feels a genuine sense of belonging,” FHU President David R. Shannon said. “Just as the bell in a belfry reaches out to the surrounding area, we aspire to extend open arms in providing a gathering place and serving a wide audience.”
“From day one of considering what we wanted this store to be, we knew that ambiance was everything. We have purposefully used warm, cozy inviting colors in our store. We have a fireplace next to our vending area that invites customers to sit down and relax a minute in the store, whether they just want to come in for a change of scenery or they are waiting while someone else shops. We have also provided an iconic place for people to take photos with our boxwood greenery wall with the neon Freed-Hardeman sign mounted on it,” Woolard said.
“We want to support each social club with special items throughout the year,” said Clayton, AVL and operations strategist at FHU. “We also want to make sure that we are serving the Chester County community and collaborating with the many great local businesses who are here. We’re grateful to those who have already partnered with our bell hunt giveaways.”
FHU students have expressed excitement about The Belfry’s opening on campus.
“I’m excited to see the new FHU store and all it has to offer!” FHU senior Anna Barker said. “Combining the mail, snacks and bookstore services along with many other products will be a great way to bring students together.”
FHU sophomore Marliemekenna Thompson added, “The Belfry is a new and modern setting that makes for a more comfortable and fun atmosphere. The new design gives a more welcoming environment.”
Store hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and parking is available behind the Gardner Center. Additional information about The Belfry can be found by following facebook.com/TheBelfryFHU or calling 731-989-6678.
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associates, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.