School of Fashion signs lease in Acorn Alley II

Sasha Chinchar

The Kent State School of Fashion recently signed a lease for retail space at Acorn Alley II and is planning a new venture with The Fashion School Store.

“We’re in the stage of really trying to scope out what exactly is going to be in there,” said James Campbell, director of the School of Fashion. “But the idea is that it will tie to the learning opportunities for students in this school; that it will be something that will hopefully showcase some of the capabilities of the TechStyleLAB, and that it gives us a way to have some experimental retail.”

Although the exact merchandise the store will sell is still undecided, associate professor Nancy Stanforth said goods will be broken into three categories: local, TechStyleLAB and designer merchandise.

The local merchandise will be Kent State School of Fashion souvenirs such as key chains and T-shirts, which Stanforth said will make up the volume of the store.

“It gives the students the chance to experiment with retail, learn the kind of systems that are involved and do some of the planning, both in the store planning and retail planning,” said Campbell.

Campbell said part of the reason the idea for the store transpired so fast is because of the fast pace of the downtown development.

Ron Burbick, father of Acorn Alley and Acorn Alley II, and the Burbick Foundation will contribute $10,000 a year, for five years, to pay for rent of the retail space.

“It’s probably through his large donation we are enabled to really consider having this store,” said Campbell.

Burbick said the thing that’s always been lacking in downtown Kent is clothing outlets, and this provides that opportunity while also bringing together the university and the City of Kent.

“The university has tried very hard to start connecting to our community, and we want to be part of the revival of Kent,” Stanforth said.

Students and teachers will work with the store, and Campbell said it might even tie into student coursework. Campbell said he hopes to take advantage of some of the resources at the university by working with the Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Business.

Another idea that is being taken into cosideration is to turn the store’s profit into a scholarship fund. However, Stanforth said it will be a while before that can happen and that they will be lucky to just break even in the first year.

While the plans for the store are still in the early stages of development, Campbell said he is hoping to have it open by late October or early November.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Sasha Chinchar at [email protected].