Since moving into 265 College St. this spring, a new campus apparel store called The University Store has been well-received by students who shop there, despite similar offerings around Yale.
Located at the base of the Taft Apartments and next to the restaurant ROIA, the apparel shop occupies the space that was once home to Archetype Clothing, a boutique clothing store. Since The University Store’s opening, owner Craig Svede said that his business has been performing as well as he had anticipated, noting that the store has been “hitting [its] numbers.”
Svede said that his store sets itself apart from other campus apparel stores by offering “boutique” apparel that is made predominantly in the United States. Two other stores on Broadway — Campus Customs and the Yale Bookstore — also offer University-themed apparel and merchandise.
“We try to cater to the traditional — we outsource very little,” Svede said. “I would say that 98 percent of what we carry is produced in the United States. We produce it ourselves, so there is no middle man in most of our products.”
Svede pointed to the store’s focus on boutique fashion as the primary factor that distinguishes it from stores offering similar products.
The two other campus apparel stores have a storied history in the Elm City. Campus Customs first started carrying Yale gear and merchandise at its Broadway location in 1973, while the Yale Bookstore, in its current form, started selling University-inspired retail in 1997.
Because of The University Store’s location on the opposite end of campus from Broadway, Svede said that the two other campus apparel stores have tended to attract more undergraduate students. However, he added that his business has drawn numerous graduate students and city visitors due to its proximity to the Taft Apartments and Old Campus — a prominent tourist attraction.
Of 30 undergraduate students interviewed, only six had heard of the store. Two had shopped there.
While only a small number of students interviewed said they had shopped at the store, those who had done so said they enjoyed a positive shopping experience.
The boutique offers a range of customized clothing, in addition to what Svede called “traditional” Yale apparel, including caps, crew necks and rugby shirts.
Mao Shiyuan ’17 said that, after purchasing two shirts for $10 apiece, she enjoyed her shopping experience and would return to the store.
“I think it’s great — it’s really empty because I don’t think many people know about it, but it has great apparel, and they’re not more expensive than the Yale Bookstore or Campus Customs,” Shiyuan said.
Alex Herkert ’17 said he thought the hat selection was better than Campus Customs and the Yale Bookstore. He added that the prices were comparable to those two clothing stores and that the staff in the store was friendly.
Svede stressed that he hires locally recruited employees who are familiar with New Haven and the Yale campus to improve the customer experience.
The University store is not technically affiliated with Yale, and because of this, the word “Yale” is not included in the name.