Thanks to student initiative and community support, students are dressed for success

The Trade Closet is officially open! This student-run initiative provides CMU and WCCC students with second-hand business clothing free of charge, so they can dress for success as they prepare for a new job. Students first brought the idea to CMU Career Services at the end of the spring 2022 semester. Within a few months, overwhelming support from the community brought the idea to life.

On Sept. 1, CMU Career Services partnered with the Palisade, Grand Junction, Orchard Area and Western Colorado Latino Chambers of Commerce to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the closet. The ribbon was replaced by an old shoelace. Symbolic From college to careers, students take big steps with pride in their new outfits. The event was held in front of Dominguez Hall and was well attended by 50 students, faculty, staff, local media and community business leaders.

Sept. 1 was the first official costume drive for the business, in conjunction with a ribbon cutting and CMU’s annual job fair. Before its official launch, it easily doubled to more than 200 pieces donated by Heirlooms for Hospice, Mor Storage and CMU trustees. “The outpouring of donations during our Fill the Rack Drive was incredible. The boxes started filling up with boats, high tops, full suits and dresses before the shoelaces were cut,” said Career Services Director Sadie Saad. “What’s amazing is the Allen community! It’s not just the clothes — they’re empowering our students to walk into classroom presentations, interviews, and ultimately the workforce with confidence.”

The founders — Cigna, Timberline Bank and Dalby, Wendland & Company, PC — each donated $3,000 toward start-up costs.

The business locker opening location is Dominguez Hall, Room 101C. Eventually, the Business Closet will include shelves in various rooms on both the CMU and WCCC campuses. The goal is to include not only business clothing, but also industry-specific clothing such as scrubs for medical programs, flame-resistant jackets, and cotton hats to cover welders and mechanics.

The community is also encouraged to support this sustainable initiative by donating gently used business clothing, footwear and accessories. For more information, visit


Written by Hannah O’Neill