New store selling Hawkeye merchandise opens on Clinton Street

A new store selling University of Iowa merchandise opened on Friday where Tailgate was previously located. The store will sell all apparel for less than $45 per item.


Dimia Burrell

A new University of Iowa Merchandise store is seen on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. The store is located at 30 S Clinton St.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

A new store selling University of Iowa merchandise opened officially Friday at 30 S. Clinton Street after a soft opening that wiped them out of all merchandise in stock.

“We’re not going to have a grand opening probably until the first weekend of a home game, but for now, we’re gonna have hours that are open every day of the week,” owner Pat Einarsen said.

The store name has yet to be decided, Einarsen said. His team is currently debating between Sidelines or X-Grain; the latter is the name of the manufacturing company Einarsen founded.

“The reason I chose X-Grain is when you think about an athlete and you think about everything they do to become stronger, better, faster, they go against the grain,” Einarsen said. “That’s the people that I want to appeal to.”

The store is opening in the former location of Tailgate, a boutique owned by retailer American Eagle, which also sold Hawkeye merchandise. The shop closed earlier this year.

Einarsen said X-Grain manufactures nearly a million sweatshirts a year at its manufacturing plant in Peosta. While retail is not his comfort zone, he said he wanted to expand the brand by opening the Iowa City location.

“We thought, let’s throw our chip on the table. Once we bring our goods to Iowa City, we’re able to control the quality, the embroidery, and the finishing because we make everything,” Einarsen said. “By retailing it, we get a head start on all of our competitors.”

X-Grain has a license to produce merchandise with the Iowa Hawkeyes logo, and Einarsen said it is a valuable asset to his business.

“Obviously being in Iowa, we understand what motivates people in this state,” he said. “There are no pro teams, so as a result, a lot of people follow Iowa.”

Dale Arens, UI assistant athletics director of trademark and licensing, said X-Grain obtained a license to produce apparel before opening a store.

“This is a new thing for them, having a physical store,” Arens said. “They’re Iowa-based, they source and make really nice products. It’s just hard-working Iowa manufacturing.”

When Einarsen asked Arens about the store location, Arens said he told him it was a great place to open.

“He was approached about that space and asked me my opinion,” Arens said. “I think it’s a great space there and I think it was really nicely set up by Tailgate as a nice little boutique store.”

Related: DITV: Businesses are popping up all over the Iowa City Downtown District

Nancy Bird, executive director of Iowa City Downtown District, said Einarsen received a build out grant from the district of $15,000 to help new businesses in Iowa City.

“We provided build out grants for new retail businesses that were providing goods and services that were in our retail strategy,” Bird said.

Bird said she is excited for Einarsen’s store to open, especially because it is in the location in downtown Iowa City on 30 South Clinton St.

“I think what [Einarsen is] bringing will be different from what Tailgate was and yet still meet the same demand in the market for both the Hawkeye nation as well as the local community,” Bird said.

Overall, Bird thinks Iowa City is going to benefit from Einarsen’s store and his knowledge.

“He’s really invested in local and community spaces and really wants to create an experience out of that store,” Bird said. “We’re lucky to have his addition to our basis of community retail.”

For Einarsen, the new store is a chance to expand not only his company, but his community as well.

“Hard work and determination made Iowa a perfect place to grow a business,” Einarsen said. “For me to migrate to retail is not just growing the business, it’s making us excited about growing the community.”

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