CLIFTON PARK — After closing in June due to low sales, the Shenendehowa Central School District merchandise store has been reborn, this time with the help of local businesses.
The new Shen spirit store is not a location students can visit on campus. It is a page on the district's website that features links to vendors who are newly licensed to sell gear featuring Shen’s trademarked logos.
The first version of the store was launched in September 2016 to provide students, parents, sports teams and clubs a way to purchase official district merchandise. But the district only inked a contract with one vendor for that store, resulting in little competition and, consequently, high prices, district spokeswoman Kelly DeFeciani said.
Customers were also only able to order merchandise online and had to pay for shipping back to the store if something in the order was incorrect. Those hurdles resulted in the store's closure after just a year.
“We mutually agreed with that vendor to discontinue in June of 2017,” DeFeciani said.
But the desire for Shen gear didn’t stop, DeFeciani said. Over the past few months, district officials have been meeting with booster clubs and other student organizations that were already working with local stores to make Shen spirit wear.
The district now has contracts with seven locations to sell merchandise featuring three of the district’s recently trademarked logos: the district logo, the academic seal and the student activities logo.
Vendors paid $500 for a three-year contract with the school. Now, when the vendors sell gear related to a booster club or team event, the booster club gets an 8 percent royalty on the sales. The district receives an 8 percent royalty on all sales not associated with a club or team.
Tricia Zielinski, who owns Embroidery & More, is one of the seven vendors involved. Her store features a large selection of Shen gear, including sweatshirts, hats and sweatpants.
Zielinski said she’s been working with booster clubs at Shen to provide gear for a number of years now, so it was not a surprise when the school reached out to her to become an official vendor.
“We’ve always worked with the booster clubs,” she said.
Zielinski wasn’t involved with the first attempt at the Shen store, but she said she often had people come into her store with the things they had purchased that they needed to be fixed or returned.
Zielinski then had to explain that she wasn’t associated with the store and that there was nothing she could do to help those customers.
“Their first attempt wasn’t a local store,” she said. “I think [the district] quickly realized there was a better way to do it.”
Zielinski’s store is located on Route 9 in Clifton Park. Other nearby vendors include DC Sports in Mechanicville, Val’s in Mechanicville and Northwind Graphics in Malta. The complete list of vendors and contact information can be accessed through the district's website.