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Ohio State students soak up Oval Beach tank tops

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

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As Spring Quarter kicks off and temperatures begin to rise, the Oval becomes a prime location for students to toss around a Frisbee, get an early start on their tan or spend an afternoon with friends.

During this time of year, many refer to this location as Oval Beach. Although it is not certain when or by whom this term was coined, a former student has taken the idea to the next level.

Nils Root, a recent Ohio State graduate with a degree in business finance, created Oval Beach shirts. Some might already be familiar with his work from last year’s line that said “Oval Beach Member” in bright neon letters, but he has returned with new ideas this year.

“I had a friend say, ‘Man if anybody ever made an Oval Beach shirt, they would definitely do well,'” Root said. “So I did it on a whim last year and they were really popular. So after that, I thought it’d be silly not to do it a second year.”

The idea came to life when Root went to Student Book Exchange, located at 1806 N. High St., last year and a business partnership was formed.

“SBX was the first bookstore I walked into because that’s where I buy my books, and I was just like, ‘Hey I have a T-shirt that I’d like to sell. I’ve never done this before. Who do I talk to?'” Root said.

The buyer for SBX, Jessica George, said she loved the idea of selling the Oval Beach shirts at their store.

“I thought it would be really nice to work with a local student and we’re a locally owned and operated store, so I thought it was really important to work with the community,” George said.

Although this is the first time Root’s work can be found in a store, it’s not his first experience with clothing design. Root had an online retail store called Frosh Tees, which sold shirts for college-bound high school students.

“It wasn’t as unique to campuses as something like the Oval Beach,” Root said. “I think that’s why Oval Beach has been successful more so than those more generic Frosh Tees that I did for three years.”

The shirts made for this year have been improved and simplified from last year’s design, Root said. This year, there are two different shirts for men and women. The women’s shirt says, “Oval Beach Babe,” and the men’s shirt says, “Oval Beach Brah.”

“It’s a cool shirt, kind of a fun thing that I think a lot of people get a kick out of,” Root said.

Katie Nord, a fourth-year in English, is a frequent Oval Beach visitor.

“Last year, I remember going to the Oval Beach all the time right after class,” Nord said. “We’d go in our bathing suits and cover-ups and have lunch there.”

But the $17 shirts might seem a little steep for some college students’ budgets, Nord said.

“I think it should be lowered to at least $10 or $15, just because it’s not going to be a shirt everyone has, but if you wanted to get it, you’re able to,” Nord said.

Root said he received a lot of feedback from last year and hopes this year’s shirts can capture the fun, summertime feeling when it’s hot during Spring Quarter. The shirts went on sale last Wednesday and can be solely purchased at SBX.

“Oval Beach is something that’s been around for quite a while, as far as people referring to it as that,” Root said, “but I think it got really popular with the shirts.”

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