Tracey Stearns, AGM, is the Director of Retail at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
Tracey Stearns on the importance of carrying athleisure and comfortable apparel:
After the pandemic shut down golf shop operations in March of 2020, I realized more members would be working from home and looking for apparel to suit their new situation. As part of the club’s monthly retail publication, “The Thread”, I launched “Congo Comfy Classics,” an offering of sweatshirts, sweatpants, activewear, socks and sneakers that cater to fitness activities and being comfortable in casual settings. The pandemic has shifted a great deal of attention and increased sales in a category that is really seeking focus – leisurewear. With many individuals now working from home, the importance is not in wearing a woven and tie but being comfortable in their new “work” environment. The “Congo Comfy Classics” digital offering was emailed to members at the start of the pandemic, focusing on brands offering products like sweatshirts, activewear and loungewear. As the athleisure category continued to generate great sales and awareness, we decided to take it beyond this digital offering and create a casual/fitness section in the golf shop, featuring sweatshirts, T-shirts, athletic shorts and joggers. Some standout items include men’s, women’s and children’s screen-printed logoed sweatshirts, a custom “throwback varsity style” sweatshirt and “lux athleisure” items, including a beautiful group of women’s velour zip-up hoodies and mock-neck pullovers with a cinched waist.
Tracey Stearns on the business impact of carrying athleisure and comfortable apparel:
Now, more than ever, we are seeing a strong response to sales in the athleisure category, which is one we will continue to make available and grow here at Congressional Country Club. I think many of us want to create a store where members and guests can purchase unique logoed apparel that can be worn on and off the course. Offering collections outside of traditional golf clothing only enhances your shop and increases your sales. Not only can members wear many of these items for comfort and working out, but they’re also trending as fashion.
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