For the first time since the 2014 West Union Street fire, Uptown Dog T-Shirts will return home to its original spot at 10 W. Union St.
Owner Mary Cheadle said she decided to merge both Uptown Dog T-Shirts, 9 W. Union St., with 10 West Clothing Company, 10 W. Union St., because she believes it is time to modernize the businesses.
The new business will still be called 10 West Clothing Company and will be in the same location. The two businesses will merge before students return from spring break, which runs March 12-16 with classes set to resume March 19.
In February, Uptown Dog T-Shirts celebrated its 30th anniversary. Cheadle said before the , Uptown Dog was at 10 W. Union St. for more than 20 years. Cheadle moved Uptown Dog to its current location, and then when the repairs were done to 10 W. Union St., she decided to open 10 West Clothing Company.
“After a year and a half of that, we’re realizing I spread myself a little too thin operating both businesses,” Cheadle said. “We have a really niche of customers at 10 West and a really niche of customers at Uptown Dog, but we’re having a hard time getting them to want to go to the other places.”
Cheadle said the combination of the businesses will be the “best of both worlds.” The new business slogan will be “Fashion meets Fanwear.”
“It’s like we’re coming home,” Cheadle said. “Even though (9 W. Union St.) has been a wonderful location for us, and we sure appreciate we got to be there … we’re really excited to be back home.”
Cheadle said the concept of 10 West Clothing Company is that most of the clothing is recycled, which is a current trend. The new rebranded store will now have “nearly new” Ohio University merchandise along with continuing to sell nearly new clothing.
Colleen Phillips, Cheadle’s sister, is a partner in her business. Phillips said the business has a different look that no one in Athens has yet tried to do.
“There’s clothing stores up here. There’s printed OU shirts. This is combining and creating the college, teenager, young-adult look, but also incorporating OU with it,” Phillips said. “Short of going to a yard sale, you’re not going to get cheaper prices than us.”
Phillips said the store will only get rid of stock that was unsuccessful. Uptown Dog T-Shirts will remain as a “warehouse close-out” for a few months to clear out the remaining stock that cannot be brought over to the new 10 West Clothing Company.
The owners are unsure of what will move in place of Uptown Dog T-Shirts, but Cheadle said she hopes the business that moves in to that location will be something that continues to benefit the street.
The store will still offer custom printing, Cheadle said, which has been a long-time staple to the Uptown Dog T-Shirt name. Cheadle said she recognizes a need for men’s clothing sold in Athens, which she will continue to sell.
“What happens in business is it’s come and go,” Cheadle said. “Because I’m not a franchise, I can roll with the punches. I can become a chameleon and change with what the town needs.”
Julia Nace, a freshman studying special education, said she would be interested to see how Uptown Dog will change when the merge occurs.
“In some aspects, it’s good,” Nace said. “But then if you want to just go to Uptown Dog, it’s the cheapest place to go. I like how it’s really cheap.”
Cheadle said with Uptown Dog celebrating 30 years, it was time for an update with something that was fun and exciting.
“We could have just stayed there and gone into the next amount of years that we could have survived,” Cheadle said. “We wanted something that was different. It’s huge that we reached 30 years. If you start counting the people in Athens that have survived 30 years, it’s not a lot of people.”