North Carolinians are passionate about their college affiliations. Through leveraging that passion and recognizing fans have other interests, NC State has expanded its licensed merchandise efforts to travel, teen fashion and outdoor life. To that end, NC State is strengthening its relationship with Cracker Barrel® and working with Carhartt® and Justice® to blend its popular trademarks with clothing and other merchandise designed for the retailers’ target markets.
“NC State fans come in all types,” said Gregg Zarnstorff, “Children, seniors, and everyone in between like to show support for their favorite school and teams through their clothing and décor, and not just on game day.”
For Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, 2015 marks a year of tremendous growth for its partnership with NC State.
“We will be expanding NC State University products from 14 to 27 stores throughout North Carolina,” said John Jankowich, buyer with Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. “Our assortment mix is designed and selected to be unique, interesting, campus focused and compelling for our guests. By expanding our support for North Carolina State University, we will be keeping this promise to our guests throughout the state.”
The expansion signals a strong demand for NC State branded clothing and gifts across the state. “Cracker Barrel is typically located on busy exits on the Interstates and main roads, reaching travelers and vacationers coming to and through North Carolina,” added Zarnstorff, “This will greatly impact our ability to reach our current fans with merchandise and to build on our brand awareness, too.”
New fall merchandise is expected to reach Cracker Barrel stores in early July.
Justice began carrying NC State apparel and merchandise last year and will be expanding their assortment in key locations. Designed for tweens between 8 and 13 years old, NC State-branded Justice clothing will enable girls to show their loyalty to the Wolfpack without sacrificing fashion.
“Many Justice items feature glitter embellishments, piping, and sleeve/neckline cuts that girls like,” said Zarnstorff.
Similarly, Carhartt is giving their customers more bang for their buck with NC State branded apparel that also meets the unique needs of outdoor enthusiasts. While Carhartt started carrying collegiate branded apparel just three years ago, NC State joined the line in fall of 2014.
“Despite the late start in the market, NC State is already ranked #3 in Carhartt’s collegiate sales. This merchandise is showing up in small town hardware stores, agriculture stores and even tack shops; places we’ve never been before,” Zarnstorff explained.
With partners like Cracker Barrel, Justice and Carhartt, Zarnstorff sees great opportunity to solidify NC State’s current fan base and reach new fans and potential students. “It not only allows us to generate more trademark revenue to support student scholarships, but also grow awareness and visibility so we can draw the top students to our university. We look forward to working with these companies to continue to push our products into new and unexpected, but successful venues.”