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OSU apparel sales take a hit due to football team’s woes

Katie Harriman / Lantern reporter

The success of the Ohio State football team affects more than just its standings, in some cases it affects dollars and cents.

OSU apparel sales in the campus area tend to mimic the team’s performance.

Sales have dropped about 25 to 30 percent from last year at College Traditions, a university-merchandise store on Lane Avenue, shopowner Kelly Dawes estimated.

Dawes said there has been a decrease in fall sales, which is the store’s best-selling season.

“You just have to adjust,” Dawes said. “Our sales are directly affected by wins and losses; it’s just one of those years.”

College Traditions’ best-selling months are September through December, Dawes said.

“The last couple years with the basketball team getting stronger, our numbers are a little better,” Dawes said. “But still, football brings in the majority of the business.”

College Traditions continues to sell sweater-vests and No. 2 jerseys, but they are not selling at the rate they were when Jim Tressel was coach and Terrelle Pryor was a quarterback for the Buckeyes, Dawes said.

At College Traditions, prices for the No. 2 jersey remain the same as other screen printed jerseys, $59.99. Sweater-vests are $55.

Conrads College Gifts, located near College Traditions on Lane Avenue, has also seen changes in its sales numbers, said Rob Cohen, co-owner of Conrads.

Although the store still sells sweater-vests, Cohen said they no longer have No. 2 jerseys after putting them on sale. Conrads reduced the price of the No. 2 jerseys to $19.88 following the departure of Pryor.

“People still like Tressel and come in and miss him,” Cohen said. “We’re not ordering deep in (sweater-vests), just taking it day by day.”

Cohen agreed that football games and Christmas are his best selling seasons, but said December is probably better in terms of sales.

“When Ohio State’s winning, the fans are pumped up and they’re more excited and they will purchase more items,” Cohen said. “We are tied to the team and how well the team does.”

Conrads makes about 80 percent more on a Saturday compared to the rest of the week, Cohen said. Conrads did not release sales numbers.

Jenna Backus, a fourth-year in strategic communication, said she has noticed a slight decrease in foot traffic at The Official Team Shop store in the Schottenstein Center, where she has been working for more than a year.

Backus said she thinks businesses selling OSU items have nothing to worry about.

Some businesses haven’t seen a drop off in sales, despite the football team’s issues off the field.

Ryan Vesler, creative director of Homage, said the company’s sales have remained consistent.

“I think people are just as excited about Ohio State sports and are passionate about the brand,” Vesler said. He added that the company’s sales are “consistent with what they’ve been in previous years.”

“We’re always going to have so many dedicated fans with ‘Buckeye Nation’ and will always have the same people coming back and supporting us,” Backus said.

College Traditions originally operated as the stadium garage in 1984, where they worked on cars, Dawes said.

The store’s dot the “i” Brutus statue was vandalized about 2:30 a.m. the day after the first football game versus Akron.

A uniform hat was torn off Brutus. College Traditions received another hat from the band soon after, but hasn’t replaced it yet.

College Traditions purchased the $20,000 Brutus statue as part of Brutus on Parade, a fundraiser for Thompson Library renovations.

Conrads opened before College Traditions in 1969 by Cohen’s father. The store was originally a jewelry store that didn’t sell any OSU-inspired items.

An increased number of requests for OSU souvenirs led Cohen’s parents to start purchasing OSU items.

“It was hard because people weren’t really (buying as many souvenirs) back in those days,” Cohen said.

After selling more OSU items than jewelry, the store switched its merchandise priorities.

Jami Jurich contributed to this story.

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