By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau
The Lope Shop has had a Nike section since the GCU athletic program contracted to wear the company’s gear exclusively, but now it’s being expanded by six or seven items, said Shelly Schrimpf, Assistant Director of Campus Retail and Licensing. She added that the store is in the midst of refreshing its Nike section with a new hat fixture and mannequins, “so it will look kind of new when everybody comes back.”
The Lope Shop also is transitioning all its sports T-shirts to Nike.
“People, they want the swoosh, so we’ll give it to them,” Schrimpf said. “ … It’s just the brand people want.”
Beyond Nike, also what’s new is the addition of the Tokyodachi Collection, a business model created by Zephyr Headwear, founded by David Gormely in 1993 in San Diego. Zephyr became the largest college licensee in 2000 and today produces hats for hundreds of colleges, universities and professional sports organizations (such as the National Basketball Association).
Gormely, a fan of anime, wanted to add a different element to his brand by introducing Tokyodachi, which features intense-looking – yet, cute — anime-styled versions of college mascots (think an eyebrow-furrowed, competitive Thunder rather than the smiling version).
Thunder became the champion of the first Tokyodachi Mascot Madness, held during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March. College and university anime mascots competed for votes on social media. Thunder came out on top, beating out the University of Arizona’s Wilbur the Wildcat in the finals in a vote of 12,000 fans – 51 to 49 percent. The win came after Tokyodachi Thunder already had toppled the University of California-Davis in the first round, then the University of Houston, Stanford, Mississippi State, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Colorado.
Erin Pavlin, licensing coordinator for Zephyr Graf-X, said in a GCU Today article earlier this summer that the anime versions of the mascots are an emoji of sorts for fans: “The goal is to create a personality and life behind the character.”
Schrimpf said Tokyodachi has taken off and almost 750 colleges and universities have agreed to let the company anime their mascots.
The Lope Shop is setting up a Tokyodachi display in the store, with items upon items featuring Tokyodachi Thunder.
“It was crazy that we won,” Schrimpf said. “Because we won, they’re giving us some extra banners and other items for display in the store.”
And, of course, expect T-shirts, mugs, hats and more to be emblazoned with Tokyodachi Thunder.
The Lope Shop will be parting ways with some vendors and trying new ones, such as a brand called Step Forward, which sells fashion-forward collegiate apparel for women. Sizes range from junior to women’s sizes.
The store is bringing back a brand called Camp David, which it sold when it first opened on campus four years ago. The clothing company focuses on leisurewear.
There’s also an Antigua brand, which markets polos, and a collegiate brand called Blue 84.
On the tech side, new items such as gaming controllers will make their way to the shelves.
Schrimpf said customers should look for an expanded gift wall, spotlighting the coffee mugs and gift items everyone loves.
New this year, as well, is that the Lope Shop is working with Canyon Promotions to offer GCU’s nursing students the purple Grey’s Anatomy scrubs they wear.
“This will save our students time by not having to travel to Tempe to purchase their scrubs. We’ll have what they need right here on campus,” Director of Campus Retail and Licensing Andy Dunn said. He wanted to put the spotlight, too, on the shop’s selection of apparel that’s specific to each college at GCU.
One thing Schrimpf initially wasn’t sure would sell is a collection of ukuleles by Amahi, which come in bright colors such as pink, yellow, orange and blue.
“They came in in June sometime, and I think we’ve sold half. Wow! … It’s very exciting. Our buyers are very good at what they do,” she said.
Outside of what’s new in the store, Schrimpf said the big change is that the Lope Shop has been rearranged, “so people might have to look (for their favorite items) when they come in, but we feel the flow is better.”
The Lope Shop staff is busily getting ready for what traditionally is the biggest sales week of the year – Welcome Week.
Employees will have a bit of a respite before the Breast Cancer Awareness Table is set up in October and the big Five Days of Christmas sale arrives in December.
Not that there won’t be a few flash sales in between.
Shrimpf said, “We’ll put flash sales on Instagram. For example, ‘For the next hour, this item will be on sale.’ So everyone should follow us on Instagram for flash sale updates.”
Contact GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 602-639-7901.
GCU Today: GCU’s new Lope Shop touts Nike, Champion
GCU Today: Thunder is the national champion … of anime