G+G Enters Olympic Retailing Movement

NEW YORK Graj + Gustavsen is handling brand and product development, licensing and retail design for The Olympic Shop, a chain of retail locations created by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The strategy involves expanding beyond the five prototype shops now open, which will be retrofit to the new concept, to 50 locations by 2009. Three stores are located at Olympic training centers; one is at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

G+G, which has taken an equity position in the venture, will develop an aspirational brand spirit for the stores capitalizing on the authenticity and heritage of sports, said David Ferguson, managing partner at the New York agency. Support will include direct marketing to athletes and consumer advertising. Merchandise will include activewear, casual apparel, collectibles, performance products, digital media and books.

The stores will target the general public, but will also be a haven for the 25,000 serious contenders for spots on U.S. Olympic teams, the 7 million aspiring Olympians engaged in year-round training and registered with the national governing bodies of the 39 Olympic sports, and their supporters.

“We see it as a combination of youthful energy and camaraderie as well as a fun and energetic lifestyle,” Ferguson said. “It’s not a souvenir shop. We’re building a brand and licensed product to support it.”