All About Blue
The campus indicia war escalates
Great Lakes Team Apparel on State Street is all about blue. Literally. When Bob and Mary Duerksen doubled the size of their eight-year-old clothing store by taking over the former Earl of Sandwich space next door in July, they changed the name to All About Blue. Bob says the old name made sense when they first opened in Grand Rapids in 2001, because they sold licensed clothing from schools all over the region. But when they moved the business to Ann Arbor later that year, they got rid of everything that wasn't University of Michigan-themed. "So in order to be more university-specific here locally, we decided to go with the name change," he explains.
If you're wondering why it took eight years, Bob says it might never have happened at all if M Den hadn't moved into Steve & Barry's old space this spring. Call it a domino effect. "I don't know that we were going to make the name change if we weren't going to expand [and] I guess we probably wouldn't have expanded if it wasn't for [M Den] going in," he says. "We repositioned ourselves to be more competitive." The extra space helps, giving them room to beef up their clothing and gift lines.
The competition is stiff. Between All About Blue, M Den, and Moe Sport Shops around the corner on North U, there are now three locally owned stores devoted to Michigan clothing and gifts within a block. But Bob says All About Blue has its niche. "We're more price sensitive, for that value-conscious person."
All About Blue, 309 S. State. 222-4047. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. www.greatlakesteamapparel.com
[Originally published in September, 2009.]