While some of Ohio State’s traditions date back to the early 1900s, a local campus store is working on creating some of its own, while holding up to its name.
College Traditions, located on W. Lane Avenue, has been selling OSU apparel and merchandise since 1984. From clothing, jewelry, toys, collectibles and artwork, College Traditions has nearly everything an OSU fan would want. A family-owned business, owner Kelly Dawes said that its has become more than just a store.
“I kind of try to run it not just as an Ohio State store but as an Ohio State experience,” Dawes said. “I kind of want people to get that kid at Disney World experience.”
The building was originally a garage that housed an auto-repair shop, but in 1984 it was purchased and turned into College Traditions. In the past 30 years, the store has been through remodeling and expansions, but it has always remained at its original location.
“We did some upgrading and knocked out the front and the back, went up and out a little bit,” Dawes said.
Dawes, who has been the owner since 1991, said that College Traditions provides the best selection of OSU merchandise, selling everything OSU for students, alumni, fans and even travelers in town.
“Probably one of our No.1 items right now is the Michigan toilet paper … it continues to be our No. 1 or No. 2 seller,” Dawes said.
Having one location and a loyalty to its customers is what Dawes said has helped the company continue to be successful despite big competitors like Buckeye Corner and Buckeye Room.
“I just think it’s having the pulse of what the customer wants,” she said. “I don’t think I would be as successful with more than one location. It’s like my baby, I put everything into it right here.”
Victoria Alesi, president of the student organization Ohio Staters Inc., said that traditions at Ohio State are very important.
“I believe that traditions are so important because they give us something not only to remember why we are here … but they bring people together,” she said.
Dawes said their success over so many years has been because of their dedication to their customers.
“I think mainly because we’re so in tune with the customer … that’s my No. 1 priority, always taking care of the customers.”
When asked about having a place on campus like College Traditions, Alesi said that it was great.
“They are hiring those from our community … they can make their own set of values for what they believe in their company,” she said.
A popular saying in College Traditions is “experience the tradition,” a phrase Dawes said has become a motto for everything they have to offer.
Dawes said that, like other stores, the business is directly affected by how OSU athletics are doing, specifically the football program.
“If the football team is still doing well hopefully we will still be here doing well,” she said. “Buckeye fans aren’t going to go away.”
Dawes added where she sees College Traditions in 30 years.
“I hope that we are still here being able to serve Buckeye Nation the way we have for these last 30 years,” she said.