Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear has been on my radar for years. The two founders, Barry Prevor and Steven Shore, broke some rules and used edgy retail smarts to create a huge sales phenomenon. Launched when the economy was good, they created a value brand where everything in the store cost $7.99. Everything. Prices and the business model have changed over the years but Steve and Barry’s is still a value brand. One would think they would be flourishing now as money gets tight, but they are not.
Their’s is a volume business with very low margins. They manufacture in Asian, Africa and probably South America. I’m guessing they produce a tee-shirt for under a buck, but getting it to America and onto a store shelf with a couple of quarters worth of profit is the real magic.
Unfortunately, Steve and Barry’s is on the verge of bankruptcy today. What’s different? Less people looking for bargains? No. Who knew the price of oil would impact a chain of tee-shirt stores? Certainly not Steve and Barry. I hope they can turn it around. They deserve another chance.
PS. If you like “white hot” guitar music, The Feelies are playing July 4th in Battery Park, NYC at 3:30. I don’t have a ticket and will be sitting outside. Perhaps with my telescope, as in the old days.