By Hailey Rogenski
After delayed and canceled sports seasons, Youngstown State University spiritwear is making a comeback among students. The pandemic caused a decrease of sales at local sportswear companies.
According to Diane Jones, her store, Jones & Associates in Austintown, saw a decline in sportswear sales after seasons were canceled. Her online store helped her keep some of her income.
“At first, all of the teams we normally work with in the spring canceled all of their orders because they weren’t allowed to play. I decided to concentrate our efforts on the upcoming football season,” Jones said. “Our online stores kept us thriving during that time.”
Sportswear sales have picked up since games have returned, Jones said.
“We’ve seen an uptick and teams are better able to plan this year because they’re fairly certain that they will have a good season,” Jones said. “We’ve gotten a lot more teams coming in to order uniforms.”
Jones said her store has been in business for 32 years. It makes YSU spiritwear in many different styles, such as hoodies, T-shirts, baseball caps, sweatpants and leggings.
“We specialize in glitter and rhinestone designs which are very popular. T-shirts start at $18, long sleeve tees are about $25 depending on what you want on it. Hoodies run $30 and golf shirts run between $35 and $50,” Jones said.
YSU’s Barnes & Noble bookstore is another popular destination for YSU spiritwear and other school spirit themed merchandise. Although Heather White, the manager of the YSU bookstore, stated she isn’t allowed to disclose sales information about the store, she agrees it has been a difficult year for all of YSU with the pandemic.
“Because there are less people on campus, or less people spending the same amount of time on campus than they usually would have, there have of course been less people physically in the store,” she said.
White said purchases made through Barnes & Noble’s online site helped during the period with the absence of sports.
“Fortunately, no matter where our students and fans are, we offer all of our products on our website, which is ysubookstore.com,” White said.
The bookstore sells a variety of merchandise including some name-brand items.
“We have items that are cotton, performance wear like Under Armour and Nike, and my personal favorite is tri-blend,” White said.
The bookstore opened July 7, 2017, White said. She hopes to see more faces appear in the store in the future.
“We are eager to see our store return to its role as a social hub once we are past the pandemic,” she said.
Select Sportswear in Niles is another local store selling YSU spiritwear. Mary McCarty, president of the company, and Mary Bennett, operations manager of the store, said the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lack of athletic games took away from their sales as well.
“Nobody was buying any product because there were no sports to attend and very few people could go to the games,” Bennett said.
Select Sportswear has been open for about 25 years. It sells items such as hats, hoodies and pants. Prices range from $5-100 depending if the merchandise is name brand. McCarty said sales have escalated slightly, but the company hopes to see more in the future.
“Everybody wants an increase in sales,” McCarty said.