Gone are the days of local Syracuse Orange fans having to mine the internet or scour the local garage sale to find vintage Syracuse paraphernalia. As of April 12, 2019, Scholars and Champs is open for business in downtown Syracuse with throwback SU gear and other local brands alike.
While the store has only been open a few weeks, planning predates the store itself by over a decade. Bert Aufsesser, a Syracuse University graduate, started his own website circa 2008 and had been collecting old school Syracuse gear well before opening the brick and mortar store this month. He officially signed the lease on the 310 South Salina Street location in Syracuse back in August.
Aufsesser says he originally envisioned Scholars and Champs to be a museum or a gift shop of sorts before deciding to go all-in and turn it into a retail store. While chock-full with Syracuse swag (or drip, as the kids say) from the 1980’s and 1990’s, inventory isn’t just limited to SU clothing. Foot traffic, he says, has been strong since opening last Friday.
“Honesty It’s been way busier than expected,” Aufsesser began. “I knew I would sell a lot of Syracuse stuff but I’ve even sold a lot of sweatshirts, a lot Mets stuff, a lot of Chiefs stuff. I’m still even selling a flannels and sweaters and jackets because Syracuse people always need some of that.”
Aufsesser says he’s always looking for new apparel, and uses Shopify to manage his inventory to track sizes, colors and classifications. By now, people are familiar with him and will even come looking to sell their vintage SU clothing directly.
Syracuse fans (and beyond) can visit the downtown location and follow along on social channels Facebook, twitter and instagram. Aufsesser has greater ambitions for his brand, but for now the focus is to continue growing in Syracuse which might eventually lead to creating his own clothing line.
“My original intention was to open up in other cities and kind of do something similar whether it’s in Miami, where my brother went to school, or in LA, where I lived for a while,” He said. “At the same time I could see myself just staying here and expanding, getting a bigger footprint and making my own clothing.”