University of Saint Francis students will use their business skills while learning to emulate Franciscan values to benefit Blue Jacket Clothing Co. and someone in the community to break a barrier to employment.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday the students will operate a pop-up clothing shop at the USF Business Center, 826 Ewing St., as a stop for the Holly Trolley Shopping event.

The pop-up is teaching USF students how to be modern-day St. Francises by thinking WWFD, What Would Francis Do.

The shop has been created by students enrolled in a freshman seminar class that’s “designed to teach them about the University of Saint Francis and St. Francis the man,” said USF Program Director Andrea Robinson. “It teaches them small-business entrepreneurship and kind of emulates what would Francis do in his community.”

Her project-based class teaches about the city and requires students to write a business plan to put together the pop-up.

“The goal is to raise enough money in our community that Blue Jacket can send someone to the Blue Jacket Career Academy.”

The academy provides a 40-hour training program to job seekers. It costs $600 to send one person through it, said Blue Jacket Executive Director Tony Hudson.

Blue Jacket started in 2003 to help ex-offenders get jobs. It now also helps anyone considered disadvantaged with education, training, and job opportunities. The agency has been serving more people with mental disabilities and those who are homeless, Hudson said.

It raises money through its Blue Jacket Clothing Co. resale shop, but its biggest fundraiser is the annual Fantasy of Lights in Franke Park, which continues through Dec. 31.

It has had one previous pop-up, held in Glenbrook Square in 2015, but hasn’t had the staffing to do it again – until now, Hudson said.

Blue Jacket was a natural connection for USF. Hudson is a Saint Francis graduate, and a few years ago he reached out to Robinson for help with a community event. She since has joined Blue Jacket’s board.

Blue Jacket will provide the designer men’s and women’s professional and business casual wear.


WHEN:  11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

WHERE:  Various locations in downtown Fort Wayne.

COST:  Free transportation by trolley

Blue Jacket Clothing Co. is at 2826 S. Calhoun St. and is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.