Editor’s Note: Reprinted from the November 2021 issue of GCU Magazine. To view the digital version of the magazine, click here.
Rick Vacek story
Photos of Ralph Freso
Confused about what to buy your favorite Lope for Christmas? The Lope store (lopeshops.gcu.edu) can do more than just help you try out old college with their full line of retreaded yarns.
âThe older it looks the more retro it is, that’s what kids buy between graphics and clothing,â said Shelly schrimpf, Deputy Director of the Retail and Licensing Campus. “I can just bring a regular old T-shirt, but if I have a really good retro graphic, like something you’d take out of your dad’s closet, that’s the first thing that sells.” “
Cropped tops – basically half shirts – are still popular, but the new fashion trend for women is for men’s or oversized women’s t-shirts that have been cut in half.
âIt’s great in the ’90s, when everyone wore their husbands or boyfriends t-shirts with biker shorts – it’s really back,â Schrimpf said.
The proof is there on the shelves. Schrimpf orders more big than small and always struggles to keep enough big and extra big in stock.
Schrimpf has been gauging industry trends for 20 years but relies on his assistant, ArÃ©ina wilson, and her team of nine student ambassadors for advice on what students want. She has learned that they know what they are talking about. For example, they told him that there were pants with different colored legs. The next day, as she was walking around campus, she spotted two women with this style. Soon after, she saw him again while shopping – only this time the woman’s sweatshirt was also one color on one side, the other on the other.
âIt’s the craziest thing, but it happens,â Schrimpf said. âColor block is very popular right now if done right. “
For the Lope Shop, that will mean purple and white. The most popular color in sweatshirts and sweatpants, however, is a 1950s-style oxford gray, and the popular brand is Champion.
âWhen you put that on the floor with something else, it’s 5 to 1 that they’ll buy the Champion,â said Schrimpf, who found she didn’t need to order more than five base styles.
“I firmly believe in the basics,” she added. “I think you need a basic sweatshirt that you never get out of, basic pants that you never get out of. I can be out of the trendy t-shirt because they’re always going to come and buy our Herds. Classics.
Cool weather clothing will come in handy this winter when students are lounging outside, often in hammocks. âWe are selling hammocks like never before,â said Schrimpf. The same goes for Frisbees, Hydro Flasks, and everything else that makes the weather in Arizona even better while the rest of the country freezes over.
There’s a new trend that’s not the old-fashioned way: more and more students on campus have a dog with them and want their pet to be in the right GCU spirit. âOur pet business is out of control,â Schrimpf said.
Schrimpf’s dexterity in ordering the right items is evident in sales, which were up nearly 40% from July to September of this year compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, even though stocks are down. 50% compared to two years ago.
“We bring in more stuff more often and take it out and sell it, take it out and sell it, and take it out and sell it,” said Andy Dunn, director of Campus Retail and Licensing.
There are many other GCU related giveaways available such as the Canyon Worship 2021 album produced by Worship Arts students. Still not sure? Canyon State Credit Union offers a GCU Gift Card that can be used at the Campus Cafe, GCBC, as well as at any of the Canyon businesses, including the Lope Store.
One thing is certain: Schrimpf, with the help of Wilson and the Ambassador team, will continue to research fashion trends. After all, many of his clients are students who will be on campus for four years.
âYou have to make sure that you are always changing,â she said.
Even if the change takes you back to the good old days.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [emailÂ protected].
Below are photos of other items available at lopeshops.gcu.edu.