How Will Urban Outfitters Affect Local Businesses?

Students of State College have been walking by the building Urban Outfitters will occupy (previously Nittany Notes), awaiting the moment when the construction would be over and their doors would open.

The day will come soon. The rest of the clothing stores on College Avenue, however, have been preparing for Urban’s opening for close to a year now.

Art Fine, the owner of Metro, Bare Foot, People’s Nation, and Cheap Thrills has made certain renovations to his stores to assure that Urban Outfitters will not ruin business for them.

Having been doing business with the President of Urban Outfitters for 20 years, Fine knows the popular store well enough that he doesn’t seem worried that his stores will suffer. “The more good businesses there are, the better it is for the whole town,” he said.

He also feels confident enough in himself to know that his clients will continue to shop at his stores as opposed to moving their business to Urban Outfitters. “You gotta be good at what you do,” he explained. They don’t do shoes the way I do shoes, and we’re less expensive”

(A dress at Urban Outfitters is $78, compared to $58 for a similar dress at Metro.)

He went on to say that although students shop at Urban Outfitters, their store features only one look: hipster.  Metro, for example, is more going out dresses and a sexier look that a lot of girls look for.

Urban Outfitters also sells men’s clothes, something that Fine discourages. “Men 18 to 20 years of age are the worst demographic, their moms still buy their clothes.”

He also says that it’s hard for stores to survive, especially larger chains, in downtown State College because students are only here mostly during the school year, and there are those 22 weeks of summer and breaks where business is rough. He summed it up: “Downtown State College is a tough place to do business.”

Access has the same feelings about Urban opening.  Although the ongoing construction has been a little more loud and chaotic then they hoped, they hope the new addition downtown will bring more customers to Access as well.

Just like Metro and the other stores owned by Fine, Access prides themselves on their store being unique, and not worrying about Urban stealing their business. “Our client base is a lot different, and their quality isn’t anywhere near ours.”

Emily Ishler, a sales associate at Access, described their knowledge of brands and their denim expertise.

Access has also made a few changes to seal the deal with their customers, such as trying to secure a LionCash machine for payments, and keeping their boutique style and knowledge of fashion.

Urban Outfitters is set to open September 22. Their grand opening will feature live music, and hopefully some killer sales.

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About the Author

Kristin Piazza

Senior majoring in journalism, THON Donor and Alumni Relations Captain

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