By Emma-Jean Bedford
Listen Up, Lansing
Body jewelry, hair accessories, socks, and sex toys. These are some of the outlandish items available at Spencer’s, a unique gift shop, which opened a few weeks ago in the Lansing Mall after a multi-year absence.
This gift shop is mostly known for its wacky and fun items.
“We sell all different kinds of stuff. Shirts, lingerie, black lights … you name it! Kind of like a party store,” Stacey, an employee who preferred to withhold her last name, said.
With over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada, its opening brings excitement to the student body at Michigan State University in nearby East Lansing. The first Spencer’s in the Lansing Mall opened in 1969, but closed after 30 years of business.
There is also a Spencer’s in the Meridian Mall in Okemos.
“I’ve been to the Meridian one a few times with some of my friends, but it’s nice to know that there is another closer location,” Lansing resident Shelby Saint Souver said.
“I think it will be convenient for students because when you’re looking for a gag gift of that variety, it’s usually more fun to go to the store with your friends and laugh at the awkwardness, than to buy something online and pray your roommate doesn’t notice the box before you wrap it,” MSU sophomore Abigail Johnson said.
Spencer’s also carries various party supplies, as well as funky shirts and even risqué adult toys.
“We got one of my friends a penis-shaped lollipop and some glow-in-the-dark condoms there once for her Sweet 16. It was the single most rebellious thing I did as a teenager,” Johnson said.
These provocative purchases could also help alleviate the stigma of negative views regarding sex and young people.
“I think having something like that that’s so accessible will encourage a healthier view of sexuality among students,” Johnson said.
Spencer’s popularity is also growing because of the increased fad of gag gifts.
“That’s pretty much all I give to my friends for holidays and birthdays because it tends to be a lot cheaper too,” MSU sophomore Carly Jacobs said.
Ken Harrington, the managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, believes that continuous business success is based on a proper structure.
“Modifying hopes and turning them into revenue from customers, hitting milestones as planned, founder and team reaction to uncertainty … these businesses that accomplish this are more successful than others,” Harrington said.