Retail Opportunities:
Adapting With the Changing Times

Sydney Emmel is the PGA Golf Shop Manager at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois.

In the golf shop retail space, formal business attire is out, and casual lifestyle and athleisure wear is in. In our golf shop, we used to feature wovens, dress pants and dress shoes as a full display several times each year, especially during the fall and winter months.

Following the shift that 2020 brought us, however, just about all items in this category have continued to sit untouched and rarely even asked for, guiding us into a different, more profitable direction for the current times: athleisure.

As our club members began working less-frequently in the office and more from the comfort of their homes, the need for business-casual attire declined rapidly. Even today, many of those who do venture into their offices do not wear the same suit and tie daily uniform as they did in the past.

We are finding, more than ever, that “less casual” days at the office entail wearing a simple collared shirt and sweater combination. “More casual” days, or days members are working from home, can be dressed down with a casual top or pullover from a line like Vuori. Fortunately, these items can be purchased directly from our golf shop – a win for our members and our sales goals and bottom line.

In golf retail, one’s success depends on your ability and willingness to adapt with the changing times, and we have done just that in heavily incorporating athleisure and casual lifestyle pieces in our golf shop.

If you’ve set foot in a mall over the past two years, you’ve likely been slightly off-put by the number of empty shelves, lack of staff and absence of variety in style and sizing. Not only does this push consumers toward shopping online, but this also presents golf shop retailers with an opportunity to become its membership’s one-stop-shop in the retail space.

While the variety of what we offer has grown in a positive way due to the addition of athletic apparel, we have also been able to offer a shopping environment for our members that is comfortable, well-stocked and well-serviced, making this the retail destination of choice for a large number of them.

Vuori has been our hot-ticket brand for athleisure, selling through very quickly after it hits the sales floor with each new incoming shipment. In addition to Vuori’s popular items, we have ordered more customized hoodies, limited edition printed T-shirts and casual lifestyle shoes, like sneakers and sandals from several other brands. These items have been very successful for us, and we’ll continue to increase our buy in this genre, especially as demand continues to grow.