Niche celebrates 25 years in campus retail business

Niche celebrates 25 years in campus retail business

The Niche, Stout's own retail store laboratory, is celebrating a quarter of a century of business this year. The store is operated by Stout fashion retailing students.

The Niche originated in 1971 when former dean J. Anthony Samenfink and Marcia Metcalf, another faculty member since retired, planned the operation to allow fashion merchandising students to gain practical experience in running a store.

"The Niche allows student in the fashion retailing practicum to obtain hands-on experience in retail operations," Kathleen Cochran, associate professor of apparel, textiles and design, said. "Students can apply theory and concepts to a realistic retail experience in all aspects of small businesses." In addition to working in various positions in the store, each student has the opportunity to go to merchandise marts and participate in purchasing store merchandise.

Ty Ellis, who graduated in May with a degree in retail merchandising and management said, "The Niche has been a great experience for me because it has given me opportunities I would not have had otherwise." Ellis especially enjoyed traveling to the gift market and apparel market in Minneapolis. He has worked in his field during summers and has found what he has learned at The Niche to be "very practical information that could apply to a variety of businesses."

Christy Carlton also graduated in May, with a B.S. degree in general business administration. "For the technical component of my major, I chose retail management," Carlton said. She is working at The Niche for her practicum. "I wanted to get experience in retail," she said. "I love working at The Niche. It's really helped me realize what retail management is like."

In addition to allowing students to gain practical experience, The Niche serves the community and Stout students as well by offering unique items at reasonable prices.

Outlook Spring '96