UNL retailers offer variety of unique gifts

Workers make cheese for the UNL Dairy Store.
Workers make cheese for the UNL Dairy Store.

From cheese made at the Dairy Store to fossils available at the NU State Museum's gift shop, UNL offers a variety of shopping hotspots that can help reduce the stress that comes with trying to find meaningful, one-of-a-kind gifts.

If you are looking for something with a little bite, the UNL Dairy Store offers gift certificates, seasonal ice creams and specialized gift boxes — including the new Big Ten Conference box.

The Dairy Store's holiday-themed ice cream flavors are peppermint, chocolate cherry macaroon and rum raisin. The store sells gift certificates in $5 increments and single-scoop gift cards for less than $2 each.

“They’re the perfect stocking-stuffer,” said Bryan Scherbarth, Dairy Store retail manager. “Some professors give them to their students as a nice way to end the semester. You give somebody not just a gift, but a reason to come to the university and see the Dairy Store.”

In the four weeks that follow Thanksgiving, the Dairy Store will meet 25 percent of its annual sales.

Last year, the Dairy Store produced approximately 13,000 pounds of cheese and 17,000 gallons of ice cream.

“It requires an extensive amount of planning,” Scherbarth said. “Some of our cheeses need to age for a full year, so we actually had to forecast our sales for the holiday season a year ago.”

Gift boxes are available in 10 different arrangements that mix and match some of the Dairy Store’s cheeses, meats, crackers and honey. Customers can also create their own box with selected items.

Depending on size, the gift boxes range in price from $13.99 to $49.99. All of the boxes can be purchased and ordered in person at the Dairy Store, over the phone or through UNL Marketplace at http://marketplace.unl.edu/dairystore.

The entire Dairy Store operation takes 24 people to function. Only three are full-time employees.

“The rest are all student workers,” Scherbarth said. “I like to say 'every scoop is a scholarship' because the dairy pilot program provides opportunities for students to get an education with food processing — we exist because of the students and to support the students.”

Scherbarth said one of the most common reasons people buy from the Dairy Store is to send their family and friends a little taste of home.

“It’s a piece of Nebraska, it's something to be proud of.”

On City Campus, the NU State Museum's Discovery Shop offers an array of natural history and science-related gifts for all ages.

“There is a large selection of colorful gems and minerals, mugs, water bottles, clothing, jewelry, books, games educational kits, plush animals, dinosaur and ancient mammal figures, and much more,” said Dana Ludvik, public relations coordinator for the museum.

For more information, including hours, go to http://go.unl.edu/okg.

For film buffs, the Mary Riepma Ross Film Theater offers gift certificates for any dollar amount that can be used for tickets and concessions. For every $25 or more purchased, the Ross adds an additional $5 gift certificate for free.

A gift membership to “The Friends of The Ross” gives discounted admission year-round, along with complimentary passes, a punch card good for free movies and concessions, and invitations to members-only events.

For more information on the Ross, go to http://www.theross.org.

Other holiday shopping options on campus include:

• University Bookstore, http://go.unl.edu/ksq

• University of Nebraska Press, http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu

• Sheldon Museum of Art gift shop, http://go.unl.edu/s4s

• UNL Computer and Phone Shop, http://marketplace.unl.edu/computershop

• Huskers Authentic, http://shop.huskers.com.

— Mekita Rivas, University Communications