The next time you need Gamecock apparel or souvenirs when you’re in Columbia, including the "Together" t-shirts being sold for relief for flood victims, there’s an easy way to get it fast. The Gameday Store in the Bignon Game Day Center at Williams-Brice Stadium opened this fall, and it’s more than you would expect. For starters, it is called the “Gameday Store,” but it’s not just open on game days. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. During home football game days, the store is open five hours before kickoff and remains open for one hour after the game ends.
“If fans need to leave something here at the Gameday Store, and they don’t want to take it into the stadium, we’re happy to hold packages for them so they can stop by on their way out,” said Rich Cassatt, General Manager of the Gameday Store. “Or if they want to spend that last hour or so in air-conditioned comfort instead of sitting in traffic in their car, we’ll be open.”
Although it is located next to Williams-Brice Stadium, the store will be open throughout the year even when football season is over.
“The store really speaks to fans of all sports; not just football,” Cassatt said. “We’re going to be representing all sports that the university offers. So there will be a real seasonal feel to the store. Right now the store is in full-football mode, but there will be more of a basketball and baseball presence as those sports come into season.”
The Gameday Store is one of three stores operated by Barnes & Noble on campus, including the University Bookstore located at the Russell House and a smaller facility at the School of Law. The previous location was somewhat hidden in the Floyd Building in the north end zone of the stadium and encompassed a little more than 1,000 square feet. The new Gameday Store is approximately 4,500 square feet and is easy to see next to the stadium on George Rogers Boulevard.
“It’s a much bigger location so we can accommodate more customers along with a much better variety of products,” Cassatt said. “This is the first store of its kind in our company. So it’s a prototype, and if it works out well, there is a possibility we will roll it out to other universities.”
We’re going to be representing all sports that the university offers. So there will be a real seasonal feel to the store.Rich Cassatt, General Manager
Located next to the ticket office in the Bignon Game Day Center, the store is very conveniently located and business is off to a good start.
“It has exceeded all of our expectations so far,” Cassatt said. “We are generating a 100% increase over last year’s sales through both the Gameday store here and the revamped locations that we have in the stadium. The visibility of the store from the road really works to our advantage.”
With offerings ranging from apparel, children’s items, collectibles and other specialty items, Cassatt noted that the store will stock the shelves with any item that is in significant demand by customers.
“We’re tailoring the assortment in the store to fulfill the needs of the customers,” Cassatt said. “So when a customer comes in and is looking for a certain product, we’re going out and hunting down those products to make sure we have it to match customer demand.”
There are many promotions going on inside the store as well to generate fan interest. Former Gamecocks Langston Moore and Preston Thorne, authors of the children’s book, “Just a Chicken,” were on hand for a book signing recently. During homecoming on October 17, free professional manicures with garnet and black nail polish will be offered for women. Cassatt noted that other special events will be held in the store in the future.
“We will also have private themed shopping nights in the future for certain organizations,” Cassatt said. “The expectation is that this will become a center for presentations and a good backdrop when other dignitaries come to town.”
Purchases from the Gameday Store also help benefit the Gamecocks as 20% of gross sales goes directly back to the athletics department.