A Purdue Icon Since '82
Who we are in a nutshell:
The Den is an iconic landmark within the Purdue University community that has been serving students and alumni since 1982. Located within easy walking distance from campus, it has something for everyone: university logoed clothing, snacks, soft drinks, cards, novelty gifts, school supplies and more. The most notable item, of course, is the famous “Den Pop” which has become an integral part of the Purdue experience among Boilermakers, both on campus and around the globe.
History, according to us:
Prior to the Den's conception in 1982 nothing all that notable really happened...aside from Purdue's founding in 1869 (ayy) and Neil planting our banner on the Moon (your move IU). However, if you go back far enough, most of the area is still a bunch of corn fields. And if you go back even further, it's just a bunch of fields with less corn and a few dinosaurs.
But in all seriousness, the Den grew out of some humble beginnings...
In the 1980s, we looked a whole lot different. This was the decade of leg warmers, synthesizers, big hair, and boom boxes. A time when MTV actually played good music and when people spent hours playing with a multi-colored puzzle cube. A gallon of gas would cost about $1.00 and parachute pants were a thing. Your favorite pair of kicks were probably Reebok Hightops or Converse Chucks. The Dukes of Hazard, Three’s Company, and Alice might have been some of your favorite shows (if you could adjust the rabbit ears just right). The internet wasn't really much of a thing yet since Al Gore hadn't invented it yet. Smart phones were the size of bricks and just as useful. Jessie’s Girl was playing on the radio and sounded pretty gnarly, err…cool. Our current owners weren't even born yet, so a lot of the references and jokes from this time go unnoticed.
In the 90s, we sold beanie babies and yo-yos (the fidget spinners of today). Our Spotify playlist was an entire aisle of CDs (small, shiny frisbees you used to stick in your computer). The “Save” button on Microsoft Word made sense. Fanny packs (which we still sell for some reason) and light-up shoes were the pinnacle of fashion. The best cutting-edge video game graphics consisted primarily of large, colored blocks and the greatest threat was usually dysentery. If you could do “The Macarena,” chat with you friends on AOL, or tolerate a couple Black Cherry Warheads in your mouth at onetime, then you had some serious street cred going. Ferbies and Tamagotchis taught you the true definition of responsibility…and paranoia. Friendships were made and lost through Super Smash Brothers and Pokemon cards (…I want to be the very best, like no one ever was…). Sock’em Boppers gave you a legitimate excuse to beat your siblings and friends. “All Star,” “Tubthumping,” or “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” was briefly your jam. Unlike the comfort colors we have today, most of our Purdue themed clothing items came it various stunning shades of white, beige, and grey.
In the early 2000s, we hosted playmates (we'll miss you Hef) and we became a drive-thru...by accident. Popping your collar seemed like a totally cool thing to do while texting on your slick, Razr flip phone. Busting out and singing along to “Survivor,” “Ms. Jackson,” “Hot In Herre," “It’s Gonna Be Me,” and/or “Lose Yourself” was common place. You wished you had Cosmo and Wanda by your side or could hangout with the gang from “Hey Arnold.” A young explorer and her pet monkey would try to help you learn a second language, all while struggling to find things that were directly behind her the whole time. Our iPhones of the day were limited to playing just music and our Nokia phones would never shatter (seriously, after all the technological advances in the past decade and the screen fragility gets worse). One friend you could always count on being there was Tom…from Myspace, now it’s Zuckerberg and Russian hackers. Other than that and surviving Y2k, everything else was pretty chill.
And yeah, that about sums things up. You’re welcome.
What some people are saying:
Discount Den launches '151 Small Steps' campaign - April 11, 2019
After 150 years of “giant leaps” at Purdue, the Discount Den, home of the famous Den Pop, has decided to take a sarcastic spin on the University’s campaign by announcing its “151 Years of Small Steps” campaign. While places like the Foundry work with young entrepreneurs to launch startups and provide mentorship, the Den is aimed at providing real-world testing for these products and services.
Discount Den to move north, announce new campaign soon - March 18, 2019
That’s how co-owner Matt Garofalo described the personality of the Discount Den, the nearly 40-year-old hole-in-the-wall shop frequented by Boilermaker students and alumni alike, which announced its upcoming relocation over Purdue’s spring break last week. “It’s a brand that’s not afraid to poke fun at anything, even itself,” Garofalo said. He works with business partner Paul Griggs to run the Den.
Discount Den, a Purdue icon, picks a spot for life after Chauncey Hill Mall - March 11, 2019
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The fact that Discount Den, a Purdue student destination since the earliest days of Chauncey Hill Mall, was going to move was no secret. The tongue-in-cheek bravado of recent months – “The new Chauncey Hill development is just going to have to build around us,” co-owner Matt Garofalo said at one point – wasn’t going to put the brakes on plans, still being developed, to replace the slowly emptying, 1979-era Chauncey Hill Mall a few blocks from the edge of campus.
Bangert: Countdown to a new Chauncey Hill Mall begins near Purdue - May 15, 2018
Long-awaited plans for Chauncey Hill Mall, a property suddenly surrounded by cranes putting up high-rises in West Lafayette’s Village area, should start coming together this summer. This week, officials from Trinitas, a Lafayette-based developer, met with city leaders and the two dozen retail tenants in the elbow-shaped strip center three blocks from Purdue University, to outline a set of public planning sessions in July to help guide what will replace Chauncey Hill Mall, a near-campus staple since 1979.
The next step in the city's new downtown - October 2, 2017
Three buildings in West Lafayette’s downtown will be seeing a change of ownership to keep them up-to-date with the new changes coming to State Street. The abandoned building on the corner of State Street and Northwestern Avenue is one of three buildings that will see changes. The second is the Chauncey Hill Annex, where Jimmy John’s and AJ’s Burgers & Beef are, and the last is the Chauncey Hill Mall, the strip mall including the Discount Den, Taco Bell and more.
Purdue graduate opens doughnut shop on Chauncey Hill - August 21, 2017
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — There are a lot of late night food options for Purdue University students around campus. Cheesy slices, burgers and milkshakes abound. Now you can add doughnuts to the list. Hammer Donuts opened Thursday at Chauncey Hill Mall, inside the Discount Den.
Discount Den Changes Hands - May 23, 2017
LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Gold Pearl, The BGR and the All American Marching Band are just a few of the Den Pop varieties offered by the Discount Den, a convenience store just off campus from Purdue University.