Barefoot, a collegiate apparel outfitter, recently opened a retail location on the Square, where it sells University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University apparel.
The goal of the 6,000-square-foot space on North Elm Street is to offer a fun atmosphere, said Meredeth Persinger, manager of the Denton store.
“We celebrate a lot of random things,” she said. And that includes National Margarita Day, Feb. 22, for which the business made celebratory T-shirts, available in lime green.
Besides the merchandise — which includes university apparel, gift items, jewelry, bags and flip-flops — the shop has couches where student groups can gather if they need a place. There will also be a TV upstairs for people to watch sports.
The shop tries to offer affordable prices for students, Persinger said. T-shirts cost around $15, and hooded sweatshirts run about $25.
Barefoot is a custom screen-printing company that started in 2002 and now has four retail locations. All of the screen-printing is done at the company’s headquarters in Stephenville.
After opening a retail store in Stephenville, the company decided to expand to other college towns — Huntsville and Denton — as well as Fredericksburg.
Persinger said the Fredericksburg store is the only one that’s is a little different because it’s in a city that’s a tourist attraction rather than one with a university.
Since opening the Denton store in January, Barefoot has been working to spread the word to let student organizations know the company can print their shirts.
The company initially tried to find a location near the UNT campus but ended up on the Square. The renovated space had long been vacant; an antique store was the last business to operate there.
Barefoot has agreements with UNT and TWU to print their brands on apparel. The universities get 10 percent of the profit.
“We print what they want,” Persinger said, adding that the designs are approved by the universities.
Rolando Rivas, the director of graphic brand management at UNT, said he was approached by Barefoot last year.
He said UNT is not invested in the business but is happy to help. Any business that sells products with the UNT brand ends up benefiting the university, he said.
UNT does have to approve the artwork before it is printed and sold, he said.
“We want to make sure all the product we approve looks official, looks high quality,” Rivas said.
But the university also likes the company to bring its own design and look to the brand, he said.
Collegiate Licensing Co. manages licensees for UNT and collects the royalties, in exchange for a portion of the profit, he said.
UNT has hundreds of licensees, from larger companies such as Nike and Champion to smaller companies like Barefoot, Rivas said.
Something different about Barefoot is that most licensees aren’t both retailers and licensees, he said.
Richard Nicholas, vice president of student life at TWU, said that while TWU has an agreement with Barefoot, it doesn’t actually do licensing.
“We’re working on it,” he said.
Like UNT, TWU has to approve the design before it’s sold, Nicholas said. For TWU, he added, one of the challenges is getting the right color of maroon.
Rivas and Nicholas agree that the brands at both universities have grown and that’s why there was interest in having a shop independent from the universities.
While the apparel sold at Barefoot’s shop is for UNT and TWU overall brands, student groups and other area groups, teams and businesses can go to the store to order custom apparel.
Since opening in January, Barefoot has printed shirts for two local sororities and a business.
“We’re open to anybody,” Persinger said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address: 207 N. Elm St.