Why would a brand new spirit wear store in Ann Arbor fail to erect a sign for most of football season? There’s a reason.

In September, Rally House opened in Arborland, its fifteenth Michigan location. But as assistant manager Sherry Preston explains, the Kansas-based company’s colors are red and black, “and everybody was having a problem with that.”

So to accommodate local tastes (and distastes), the company made its first signage exception, says the born-and-raised Ann Arborite. Mere days before the Wolverines’ 45–23 dismantling of their scarlet-and-gray archrival on Nov. 26, Rally House’s custom sign was installed, sporting a big blue background and a familiar shade of yellow lettering.

“People are recognizing us now,” Preston says.

Rally House offers licensed team and locally inspired apparel, decor, and gifts to suit the rooting interests of its communities. The U-M selection is the largest and best-selling here, unsurprisingly, but other sections serve shoppers with allegiances to Eastern Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, Saginaw Valley State, Oakland, and even far-afield Michigan Tech, more than 500 miles north.

The store has ample floor space for Detroit Tigers, Lions, Pistons, Red Wings, and Stars pro sports merchandise as well.

Preston found the job while shopping at the Arborland Kroger and noticing activity at the storefront next door, which had stood vacant since the Dress Barn plus-sized women’s clothing store closed there three years ago. She learned that Rally House was hiring managers, and now helps lead a team of about ten employees, many of them high schoolers eager to take an after-school shift.

“The boys, they all like the sports gear,” she reports.

Rally House, 3625 Washtenaw Ave. (Arborland), (734) 274–6981. Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. rallyhouse.com/rally-house-arborland