We take pride in having the largest and also best quality and variety of merchandise for Northwestern University Wildcats. Although we have had an online store since 1996, but being a small business we really did not update our products for long periods of time, and we mean years at a time not weeks or months. We are trying to change this culture. We know that we have the best and most of everything when it comes to Northwestern University Wildcats Merchandise and it is about time that our web site catches up with our brick and mortar stores right here in Evanston.
We opened our first Northwestern Store in Evanston in June of 1992 at 1717 Sherman Avenue. Since then we have opened and closed a number of stores mostly in Chicagoland and the suburbs of Chicago. but we have also been to other Big Ten campuses and gone as far as Amherst Massachusetts for our UMASS store. However right now we are more concentrated in our stores in Evanston for Northwestern University Wildcats.
Our stores in Evanston are as follows:
Our main store is called Campus Gear. This store used to be at 1717 Sherman Avenue for about 25 years and then we moved it across the street to 1722 Sherman Avenue. This is where you want to go no matter what you are looking for as long as it has a Northwestern University Wildcats logo. Here we stock floor to ceiling all the Northwestern Wildcats goodies that one can dream of.
We have heard a lot of funny statements from our customers through the years that I like to share some of them with you:
1. If you can’t find it here, you don’t need it.
2. Do you have any purple shirts?
3. This is the Northwestern Store on Steroids.
4. Are your Dreams and Nightmares in black and white or shades of Purple?
5. Do you have any Northwestern Merchandise?
and so forth.
These never get old and we hear them over and over again. We don’t mind it as long as our customers get a kick out of it. I personally must admit that I agree with most of those statements. By the way My name is David Haghnaji and together with my wife Lisa Kazemi we opened our first Northwestern University Gear store in 1992 called Campus Gear.
I forgot that I was telling you about our stores in Evanston.
About five years ago, right in the middle of our move across the street to our new store at 1722 Sherman Avenue, one of our competitors, RC (I have to check to make sure that I can write his full name), the owner of “The Locker Room”, the store right across the “Ryan Field”, told me that he was ready to move on and he was looking to sell his business. It was not the best of time for us and I knew that we have a lot more than what we can chew on our plates but life does not work like that. I feel if one waits for the right time to do the right thing, he probably would not do anything in his lifetime. and so I digress again.
Anyhow, yes we agreed on terms of the sale and on Fall of that year we basically reopened two of the Northwestern Communities oldest stores with a new Fresh look. One called Campus gear and the other The Locker Room.
Since then we have added another store to the mix of our stores in Evanston which is called Team Gear. It is located right there on the west side of Ryan Field. We are a block west of “Mustard’s Last Stand” and right across from “Ten Mile Restaurant”. Both Mustard’s last Stand and the Ten Mile Restaurant are the place to visit on Game Days and we hope you don’t forget to stop by our stores “Team Gear” and “The Locker Room” for all you need for Northwestern Memorabilia.
I was going to reveal some breaking news about our next store but I think I would keep it for another day.
I am not sure if this had anything to do with the SEO and content writing and so forth that they talk about but I thought I would tell you a little about our stores and where we come from.
I am sure most of you who have graduated from Northwestern in the past 30 years or so have some memories from one or multiple of our stores in Evanston.
I also wanted to talk a little about the organization of our web site which I think I would do it in another day.
Go Cats Everyone
David Here, signing off
April 4, 2019
Hello there again, it is been a few weeks since I started talking about our web site but being a small business I got distracted again doing other things around our stores and also a little on the web site.
Before I do that though I like to answer a question that we have been asked time and again by our customers which is: Are you owned by Northwestern? For which the simple answer is, No we are not.
However we are connected through a strong Collegiate Licensing program called IMG/CLC. Which means that every single item that we have in our store is an officially licensed item which we have paid royalties on the item that today is at 17%. But the way that they calculate royalties on royalties it means that we pay Northwestern University upward of 20% in royalties through IMG/CLC on every piece of Northwestern Merchandise that we purchase for our inventory in our stores. And as many of you that have visited our stores know, we do buy a lot of inventory for our stores, so go figure.
But today I wanted to share some of our thoughts on the organization of our web site.
Having worked directly with customers in our stores for the past thirty some years I have developed a good feeling of how most of our customers like to do their shopping. In general what I do with our customers in our brick and mortar stores, is to give them all the information they are willing to hear about different things they are looking for, and then leave them to decide what they want to purchase. And I have been complimented many times for the information that I have given to them and for not being a pushy sales person that wanted to sell a certain product over the other ones for one reason or another. I would like to do the same with the same with the organization of the web site. Many of you, if you even end up reading these information, may find them redundant or unnecessary, but my hope is that it would help you make the right decision in making the right choices.
As in our physical stores, we have a number of main sections in our online store which for the lack of better word and to be consistent with web terminology we have called them Categories. You enter a certain department that is click on a category, then you would come across a number of smaller sections or subcategories which we have tried as much as we could to separate the merchandise that you do not have to look though items that you are not interested in. However inside most categories, we have a section that we have normally called, Entire selection, or All styles mixed, which means it has all the products that are available in that department or category with no particular attempt to separate the styles or products. I wish this feature was available in our physical stores but the real estate is too expensive to get a decent size store to do that in Evanston around Northwestern University.
Right now because we are only at about 15-20% into entering our inventory to the online store, some of these categories may seem thin on merchandise or products. But you must believe me when I say that when I am done entering everything we have on the site, we would definitely be the place with the most merchandise and best selection of anything Northwestern, same as our brick and mortar stores.
Originally I wanted to keep the main section of the store or the home page not cluttered with selections of merchandise and I created a number of departments to keep it nice and orderly. But little by little it is looking more like our stores which are full of merchandise floor to ceiling. However as in our stores, there is a certain order in that clutter or mess. For example I started putting a lot of subcategories underneath the Accessories Category and then I realize that what if a customer did not think the way that I do, which is more than likely the case, and did not click to go to accessories, does it mean that he or she is going to miss out on all the different merchandise that we have over there? Before I could find the answer to that question I had already duplicated those merchandise under several other departments or categories. But as I said earlier, there really is a certain order in this madness. I hope this ends up making your job of searching product as much easy as it has made my job of entering the products to the site harder.
I have to continue this later.
April 30, 2019
I am thinking that I probably have said enough about the main page organization, maybe you should just click your way through and I will try to give more information about other pages on the web site.
April 30, 2019