On­campus clothing stores provide accessible shopping to students

By Masaki Sugimoto

Shopping, or retail therapy, is becoming more accessible for University students. In four years, four new clothing stores opened their doors on campus: Ragstock, Apricot Lane,

Fira and Dear ; 72.

Most students and C­U residents may be fully aware of these stores, but they might not know about why the store owners chose to open shop in the heart of campustown. Each

clothing store has its own style, targeted customers and special pieces to offer.

Ragstock

Ragstock entered campus in August 2013. The clothing store contains both new and used clothes for men and women. This chain’s style is more vintage and retro with one-
of­ a ­kind pieces.

“Ragstock mainly focuses on campus stores all around the country,” said Kolt Knee, assistant store manager. “We specialize in affordable clothing for students.”

Students have a large impact on the business because they are Ragstock’s main clientele.

“As long as the weather is nice and students are here, we are good to go,” Knee said. “Halloween is like our Black Friday.”

Ragstock also gets a lot of business from fraternity and sorority themed exchanges because of the store’s festive clothing.

Ragstock is located at 627 S. Wright St. in Champaign.

Fira Boutique

In October, it will be three years since Fira Boutique first opened. Fira specializes in both women’s formal and casual clothing. Anna Ragle, the store’s owner, decided to

open a “brick and mortar location” after previously owning a traveling and pop­up boutique.

“I just felt there was a void on campus for this type clothing after Pitaya burned down,” Ragle said.

Pitaya was a women’s clothing store located on Sixth and Wright streets. According to the News-­Gazette, Pitaya burned down and was demolished in 2011.

Ragle is very happy with her decision to relocate to campus.

“It’s been great. We get a lot of foot traffic around here,” she said. “We have parking, and we get a lot of sorority girls and freshmen from the surrounding dorms.”

Ragle said she tries to keep her prices low in order to accommodate for her student clientele.

“I know what I like to spend on clothing, so I try to reflect that,” Ragle said.

She also offers the space to rent out after hours to groups of 15 or more women for parties, with refreshments and private access to shop.

Fira is located at 700 S. Gregory St. in Urbana.

Dear ; 72

Pronounced “dear seven­two”, the store was created by Johnny Shin, a University alumnus who wanted to have a store to cater to international and Asian students.

“All of our products are from Korea,” said Tuli Bera, retail and beauty sales associate. “I think Johnny wanted to provide more for them because they don’t get to go home as

often.”

This past February, Dear ; 72 celebrated its second anniversary. According to Bera, the name “Dear ; 72” actually came from a bad car accident involving a deer that the owner survived on Interstate 72. Bera said that after the accident, Shin “changed the spelling and added ’72.'”

The boutique contains simple yet sophisticated women’s clothing and beauty products.

Dear ; 72 caters from middle school students all the way to middle­aged women.

“You’re not trying to look 13, and the colors are easy on the eyes,” Bera said. “You’re not going to see our clothing at a regular store at the mall.”

The store’s articles of clothing are current and are updated weekly.

“My boss is really good about trying to get people to trust that our stuff is good, and worth spending their money,” Bera said.

Dear ; 72 is located at 700 S. Gregory St. in Urbana.

Apricot Lane

Apricot Lane opened in Champaign in September 2013. “At that time, there were no other boutiques on Green Street, and with all the students, it seemed like the right place,” said Meredith Herbert, store co­manager.

Similar to the other clothing stores on Green Street, Apricot Lane gets a lot of foot traffic, and its busiest days are Moms Weekend, Dads Weekend and Black Friday. Like Fira, the store also offers fashion parties for sororities and organizations on campus.

“There’s a two ­hour window where they can come in the store with 10 to 15 people, and they will get a 20 percent discount,” Herbert said. “We can donate the money to their

philanthropy or organization.”

Apricot’s trendy apparel is hand­picked from head to toe from Los Angeles. “Everything is new and fresh and on trend for whatever the season is,” Herbert said.

Apricot Lane focuses on all different age groups of women.

“It’s good to see students that shopped with you for the almost three years that we’ve been open and the loyalty they do have to the boutique,” Herbert said.

Apricot Lane is located at 622 E. Green St. in Champaign.

Urban Outfitters

The store has been going strong for almost 10 years, since 2007, with a focus on urban men’s and women’s clothing. Many students are familiar with the store and its products.

“I love how Urban Outfitters is nearby if I don’t want to go to the mall,” said Pao­Yi Warner, senior in LAS. “I think it’s good for the students here, and I know Urban and

how their clothes fit me.”

Urban Outfitters is located at 507 E. Green St. in Champaign.

All of these business are renters of JSM and offer discounts.

While many places on campus focus on women’s clothing, Malik Purvis, senior in FAA, wishes the University had more store options for just men.

“I buy a lot of stuff of the Internet for more variety,” Purvis said. “If I wanted a pair of

shoes or a professional jacket, I couldn’t go anywhere in town; I would have to travel to

the mall.”