By Julian De Ocampo ’13
The fabled storeroom at the back of the Varsity Shop is surprisingly busy.
There are racks upon racks of clothes scattered throughout the room, a bookshelf filled to the brim with paperbacks and a large metal desk smack-dab in the middle of the room.
At the desk sits Ms. Andrea Pierre, Varsity Shop coordinator and manager.
Alongside Ms. Kay Ayers, Ms. Pierre runs the shop day in and day out with the help of a variety of volunteers mostly culled from the Brophy Mother’s Guild.
Ms. Ayers and Ms. Pierre are the only full time employees at the Varsity Shop, although their duties also extend to running the concession stands at various sports games.
The Varsity Shop is open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, selling Brophy merchandise including but not limited to shirts, jackets, flags, headbands, lanyards and a recent addition to the shop – Brophy branded scented candles.
Along with selling merchandise, they’re also in charge of ordering and distributing club and sport specific clothes.
The sports attire is part of the Shop’s Spirit Wear line of merchandise. As part of this program, the shop sells and orders clothes for all sports instead of being limited to football.
As part of the conditions for the distribution plan, the shop also gives 20 percent of the proceeds from sports merchandise to the respective sports teams.
However, the profit margin is usually slim, Ms. Pierre explained.
“We run really close margins because we’re aware of the fact that we’re not here to make money – we’re here to clear our expenses and not to lose money, obviously,” Ms. Pierre said.
Club shirts make even less money, often being sold at the bare minimum price as not to incur expenses. The purpose of the club shirts, and the sales the Shop generates as a whole, is about publicity, not profit.
Sales tend to fluctuate throughout the year, but Ms. Pierre did note a few trends.
Although the bestselling items vary throughout the year, the post popular clothes tend to be colored black or made out of soft material, Ms. Pierre said.
But there’s one trend that Ms. Pierre emphasized the most:
“Our most successful items are always the ones that the boys come in and tell us what they like. We are open to suggestions,” Ms. Pierre said.
She said that another popular item is the Under Armour jacket only available to varsity level athletes. Ms. Pierre said that the jacket was like a more affordable version of the pricey letterman jacket, which can often cost more than $400.
The shop also recently reopened their online store, which can be found at http://brophyvarsityshop.myshopify.com/ or through the Brophy website.
However, despite the website’s reopening, Ms. Pierre noted that the vast majority of sales still occur in person.
And this is readily apparent in the shop. Any given day after school, the shop can be filled with students buying the latest merchandise.
And it’s not just students either; parents and alumni are frequent visitors of the shop as well.
“Some of my favorite parts are when the alumni come back and we hear stories about how special Brophy was to them,” Ms. Ayers said while carrying boxes filled to the brim with clothes.
“One time this man came in who was a lawyer in Washington,” Ms. Ayers continued. “And every year for his birthday, this man comes in and gets his son a Brophy cap. It’s just that connection. No matter how successful their son is, Brophy is the connection they have.”