Athletics merchandise draws revenue


One effective way to both visually and financially support UVM athletics is one that nearly all fans have done — buy UVM clothing.

“This year has been a banner year for wool hats,” UVM Bookstore Director Jay Menninger said, only half-joking about the student body’s need for head warmth.

UVM athletic clothing can be purchased at the UVM Bookstore inside the Davis Center, at their store at 46 Church St., online or at any of the stands that inhabit either Gutterson Fieldhouse or Patrick Gym on game nights.

“Same merchandise, same prices, same assortment, just in smaller formats,” said Brendan Andrews, who is a merchandise buyer at the Bookstore.

Don’t be hesitant to buy something on a game night for fear of seeing it cheaper three days later on campus.

“The assumption is the prices are different over there. They’re not. If it’s a $29 item here, it’s a $29 item there,” Menninger said.

The stores offer a wide variety of ways to support the Catamounts, but it comes with no surprise that with the rich athletic history and community involvement, athletic apparel continues to be a huge portion of the stores.

“It’s about 20 percent of our overall business,” Menninger said.

“We are very aware we need to make sure it’s front and center. It’s got the premier space. That’s the most valuable square footage we have in our whole operation.”

The total revenue is predominantly textbook sales, but merchandise – of which hockey and basketball are key – make up a decent sized piece themselves, he said.

“For clothing, soft goods and novelties, the sales between the Catamount stores amounts to $2.25 million,” Andrews said, outlining the budgeted sales for the fiscal year of 2015.

“After expenses all proceeds go back into the general fund of the University,” Menninger said.

A few major companies that manufacture UVM apparel include Adidas, Jansport and 47 Brand.

Special camouflage athletic hats have been created by 47 Brand’s Operation Hat Trick, in which a portion of the proceeds are donated to the VA General Post fund.

This fund  provides money to patients and caregivers of veteran’s hospitals, according to Menninger.

Some alumni remain popular in the merchandise market, such as former stars Tim Thomas and Martin St. Louis, Menninger said. “Due to NCAA rules and regulations for scholarship athletes,” the stores can’t sell merchandise for current players regardless of how badly the student section wishes to represent Mike Paliotta or Mario Puskarich, according to Menninger.

Other pieces of athletic merchandise that remain popular are  hooded sweatshirts, Andrews said.

“They still remain our number one selling item,” he said, which comes as no surprise with the campus chill.

A favorite among Bookstore staff and alumni is the “Undefeated Since 1974” football shirt, according to Menninger.

Whether your preference is yoga pants, onesies for future cats, bow ties or game-quality jerseys, the Bookstore ha