Make us your home page

Official USF merchandise store to close

TAMPA — The official merchandiser of USF athletics is going out of business next month, with a sagging economy and online competition spelling the end for the Authentic Merchandise: It's Bucs & Bulls Heaven store on Busch Boulevard.

In March, owner Jeffrey Neil Fox had downsized and moved the store from its Florida Avenue location after 16 years there, but said Tuesday that he continues to lose business to big box stores and retail websites. When USF remodeled the Sun Dome arena to include a Bulls retail store, he was disappointed not to get that property, which created a new place for Bulls fans to buy apparel and other USF paraphernalia on campus.

"The business model for retail is not what it used to be. It's very difficult, impossible to compete with big box stores like Sports Authority or Dick's," said Fox, who does not plan to maintain his inventory for online sales.

Fox, a 1975 USF graduate, said he has notified USF that he no longer intends to sell Bulls merchandise before football games at Raymond James Stadium this fall and other sporting events as he was entitled to do as official merchandiser. Fox has closed his store this week to prepare for a liquidation sale, starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, and he said he'll close the store when his current inventory runs out, or by the end of August at the latest.

Official USF merchandise store to close 07/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]