A rapidly expanding chain of college-themed apparel stores called Tailgate is moving into the Broad Street space formerly occupied by the Cajun restaurant NONA.
American Eagle bought Tailgate last year from Todd Snyder, a noted designer of both high-end menswear and vintage-inspired collegiate clothing. The company sells clothing emblazoned with dozens of schools’ logos online and has a brick-and-mortar store in Iowa City.
The Athens store will open in October, said Maggie Long, the company’s communications director.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (American Eagle is based in Pittsburgh):
American Eagle wants to take that concept and run with it, adding jeans and appropriate clothing from its own line.
“We haven’t had success trying to fit an entire American Eagle box on campuses,” noted Chad Kessler, global brand president for American Eagle Outfitters. Large stores designed for malls and shopping centers tend to be too large for the real estate spaces available near campuses, and students or alumni are often looking just to fill in their wardrobes.
The first version of the Tailgate concept to be opened under the new ownership is slated to come next year in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
“We’re just looking at different ways to reach that customer that’s college aged,” said Mr. Kessler, who noted the company may also try some of new soft, silky women’s tops in its Don’t Ask Why lines at Tailgate stores. That line has been tested in a small number of American Eagle stores, and a pop-up location opened earlier this year in New York.
The Madison location opened in May, and several fashion websites have reported that Athens and Knoxville, TN are next. Eventually American Eagle plans to open hundreds of Tailgate stores.
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