Spartan Retail becomes a Unified Front

MSU Union Spartan Spirit Shop
Published On: June 3, 2019

Michigan State University is home to some of the most unique collegiate garb and, luckily, it can all be found within six on-campus Spartan Spirit Shops. About two years ago, there were five on-campus retail stores, all of which went by different names in accordance to their respective on-campus location. But when a sixth MSU storefront came to fruition, it just made sense for each location to come together under one uniform brand. Before the unification, the five existing stores were located at Forest Akers Golf Courses (east and west), Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, MSU Union and MSU Tennis Center.

The idea to go by one name and brand came about in 2017 when 1855 Place was under construction with plans to house an MSU retail store. Of course, the store needed to be called something, but what exactly would that mean?

Spartan Hospitality Group (SHG) Retail Manager Stephene Benkert says the idea of uniting the on-campus retail stores under one brand just made sense as soon as the sixth store was proposed. She explained how the group of stores always felt like one, but having an outward-facing uniform brand furthered that recognizable bond

“We have a lot of items that are the same in our stores but, at the same time, there are a lot of things that are different,” says Benkert. “And we all work together as well. Between having the store at 1855 Place open and getting a new computer system that linked all of the stores, it was the best thing to do.”

Though, Spartan Spirit Shops are not the only on- or near campus retailers providing Spartans their green and white gear; third-party merchandisers such as Spartan Bookstore and Student Book Store exist in close vicinity.

“The biggest advantage we have is we are smaller — we’re more like a boutique,” Benkert says. “We have individual buyers with a lot of experience on campus. Other shops are third party owned, the buyer is corporate, and they don’t necessarily understand everything about the Midwest and MSU.”

Another component that sets Spartan Spirit Shops apart from the rest is an updated social media presence advertising sales, linking to the online store and interacting with guests.

“Everybody is trying to get a piece of the retail pie for MSU, and social media allows us to be right in front of everybody,” Benkert says. “It’s a natural extension of our brand, relatively inexpensive in comparison to other media forms and where the future is going.”

Though the six stores go by the same name now, the merchandise sold is handpicked, unique and unparalleled by other retailers. Take a walk through each of the newly branded stores below and see for yourself!

Spartan Spirit Shop at Forest Akers Golf Courses East and West
Greater Lansing’s number one place for fine quality, uniquely MSU clothing and accessories that complement MSU and the golf enthusiasts of the area features such quality brands as Nike, Vineyard Vines and Cutter & Buck. It’s the place to shop for that special golfer or MSU fanatic.

Spartan Spirit Shop at MSU Tennis Center
The Tennis Center site features convenient apparel and equipment sales and services to its growing group of enthusiastic patrons. It is the perfect place to find the right item for the right player at the right price.

Spartan Spirit Shop at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center
The perfect MSU gift shop, the Kellogg location is the place to browse for an MSU-themed keepsake or gift after a pleasant stay at MSU’s own hotel. Convenience and variety are hallmarks along with unique and special items you cannot find anywhere else.

Spartan Spirit Shop at 1855 Place
The newest addition to the Spartan Spirit Shops, the 1855 Place location, opened in August 2017. This Spartan Spirit Shop is one of a kind as it is the only dedicated Nike retailer on campus. As an official Nike shop, it features MSU apparel specifically designed for Spartan fans.

Spartan Spirit Shop at MSU Union
This is where students, faculty, staff and alumni meet to make that perfect campus visit last with a special MSU-logo apparel item or accessory. It is also the home of Commencement Connection, where excited graduates “to be” come to find their caps, gowns, diploma frames and all the accessories they need to make their graduation even more memorable.