Charlie’s is now back in its original location at 2 East Main Street, after two years of moving around to several different locations in downtown Vermillion. The store is located in a shared space with the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC).
Alison Buckman, Charlie’s branding manager, said the VCDC purchased the building two years ago. They then began working with the university to bring together both the mission of the VCDC and of Charlie’s.
“We opened our operation here originally until they were able to start the construction, then we moved across the street temporarily for about a year into what is now The Bean space,” Buckman said. “We stayed there for that time and then The Bean was looking to expand their business so we relocated next to The Varsity at 115 East Main while they wrapped up the rest of the construction here. Now we’re back where we started.”
Diane Wirth, Charlie’s store manager, said they knew they would be moving the whole time.
“We could’ve waited and just opened now but our director at that time wanted us to open before the construction started so we could get at least our feet underneath us to get going,” Wirth said.
Beth Pearson, a senior strategic communications major and Charlie’s social media specialist intern, said the moving around has been fun for her.
“It’s keeping it fresh and I think our new location will make it even more fun because we’re right next to the chamber so we’ll have entrepreneurs coming in,” Pearson said.
Pearson started working at Charlie’s last year. She said her job is to run their social media, schedule photo shoots with models and help decide on new merchandise. She said she wants students to know that during the past year the store has worked on getting more student-friendly merchandise.
“Especially in regards to tailgate,” Pearson said. “We’ve got a lot of new trendy items that we really hope to see around campus and see around tailgate and sports events.”
Buckman said the whole mission of the store is to give the proceeds back to the university to use for student scholarships. The store was created under the university marketing department to grow the brand across town and into other areas.
“Our purpose is to really serve the USD community,” Buckman said. “(Our purpose is) getting the gear to the fan base and bringing it back to the scholarships to create more future fans.”
As for their partnership with VCDC, Wirth said she thinks it’s going to go great.
“We’re already talking about doing events together and sharing ideas and everything and they’re a very great group to work with,” Wirth said. “I think it’s going to bring in people that we maybe wouldn’t normally have shopping. I think we’re going to get more exposure.”
Wirth also said they’ve gotten a good response from the community so far.
“We’ve had a lot of people surprised to see a downtown building being refurbished like this and maybe they were a little skeptical about it but I think they’re all very proud,” she said “Now when they come in and are very pleased with it and happy that someone’s taken the initiative to give the downtown a little bit of a facelift.”
Although Charlie’s is already open, the Chamber will be holding the grand opening for the whole building on September 20 and 21. Wirth said they are excited for the year.
“Everything has really gone smooth as far as the transition back here,” Wirth said. “We’re looking forward to a good season, a good year.”