Community frustrated with lack of Red Wolf gear
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 23:09
The tension between the University of Arkansas and ASU continues to stir as Red Wolf fans have a difficult time finding merchandise related to A-State, and instead see an abundance of Razorback apparel in Jonesboro department stores.
Derek Birginske, pitcher and outfielder for the baseball team, said this is a problem.
“Even though this is the Red Wolves’ city, they’re still under the shadow of the Razorbacks,” Birginske, a sophomore of Russellville whose major is undeclared, said.
Birginske also said when he goes shopping for Red Wolf apparel, there is little variety and selection to choose from.
“If you find one thing, you better get it,” Birginske said.
Conversely, John Guess, a sophomore agricultural business major of Des Arc, said he is more likely to buy Razorback apparel. Although Guess is a fan of both schools, he said he feels as if the stores in Jonesboro send a message that the Razorbacks are better when they display more U of A apparel.
When Guess shops for Red Wolf gear, he said he has a hard time finding much and usually resorts to shopping for it online.
Rebecca Oliver, director of the honors program, doesn’t appreciate the lack of Red Wolves gear in Jonesboro.
“I feel annoyed and offended when I walk into a store and they have either only Razorback merchandise, or they have limited Red Wolf merchandise and they’re dominated by Razorback merchandise,” Oliver said.
She also said she was infuriated when she opened her Sunday paper to see an advertisement for Academy Sports that had mostly Razorback gear, some Texas Longhorn wear and one Red Wolf chair at the bottom of the paper. Oliver mentioned several other stores such as Target, Dillard’s and Kohl’s that have disappointed her as a Red Wolf fan.
Oliver added that Target and Dillard’s have some Red Wolf clothing, but not much. Kohl’s had none at the time Oliver said she shopped there.
As of Aug. 28 Dillard’s had 10 racks of Razorback merchandise and four racks dedicated to the Red Wolves
Oliver said while in Target over the summer, she came across an aisle with one side of Razorback wear and the other with Red Wolf wear. After coming to the store multiple times, the Red Wolf side was continuously empty while the Razorback side remained unsold.
She also said college students couldn’t be the explanation for this. The first time she noticed the problem was before school started and before students moved in. To Oliver, this is “simple economics” and according to supply and demand, the stores should sell what’s making them money.
However, Daniel Marburger, professor in economics and finance, offered a different perspective.
“Stores aren’t trying to send signals, they are receiving signals,” Marburger said. He added if the Razorback apparel didn’t sell, then stores wouldn’t stock it.
Marburger said another reason for the barren Red Wolf racks might be the past football seasons for both teams. While the Red Wolves won two Sun Belt conferences back-to-back, the Razorbacks had a 4-8 season last year.
Marburger said this could cause an increase in the purchasing of Red Wolf gear and a decrease in Razorback sales. When there is a sudden change in sales, it takes time for stores to estimate how much to stock, which may be why the stores seem to be running out of ASU apparel, he said.
A manager at the Academy Sports declined to comment on questions about the sales of Red Wolf and Razorback clothing and said store information was confidential.
Jimmie Puckett, a graduate of ASU and executive team leader of human resources for Target, said the stock of Red Wolf and Razorback apparel was about the same. Puckett said this year Target was actually selling more Red Wolf items than it ever had in the past.
Molly Philhours, representative for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., said it isn’t that Walmart is carrying more Razorback items, it’s simply all that’s left. Philhours also said Walmart strives to be the “store of the community.”