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Football: Area stores stocked with UL goods as kickoff nears

Megan Wyatt , Daily Advertiser, Sept. 14, 2013

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Manager Sarah Armentor shows new UL styles and apparel, including clothing for young children, available at the Ragin' Cajun Red Zone store.

Manager Sarah Armentor shows new UL styles and apparel, including clothing for young children, available at the Ragin’ Cajun Red Zone store. / Paul Kieu, The Advertiser

Last-minute shoppers can still find everything Ragin’ Cajuns at stores across Acadiana in time for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s first home game Saturday.

And game day fashion means far more than red T-shirts.

Stores currently offer Cajuns hats, dresses, flip-flops, earrings, necklaces, temporary tattoos, cellphone cases, leggings, shorts and more.

Still, the bestselling item will always be the classic red Ragin’ Cajuns T-shirt, according to Sarah Armentor, manager of the UL bookstore’s Red Zone.

“Every day, all day, you’re going to get a red Ragin’ Cajun shirt as the top seller,” Armentor said. “That’s going to sell day after day.”

The Red Zone shop, located at the corner of Johnston and Lewis streets on campus, has catered to alumni and fans of the university who cannot easily access the bookstore in the center of campus.

Before the Student Union closed for remodeling, it was difficult for those who did not live on campus to purchase gear from the bookstore inside of the union due to limited hours and parking.

“This is a place that sells nothing but UL and Ragin’ Cajun items that the public can get to, that we have parking for outside,” Armentor said.

During football season, Ragin’ Cajuns gear isn’t just found on campus but is found almost everywhere — from grocery and drug stores to sports and specialty shops.

A new shop that caters to Cajuns fans opened just two weeks ago in River Ranch.

A second location to a Louisiana State University shop in Baton Rouge, Bengals & Bandits, sells mostly UL items in its Lafayette location.

“What we’ve noticed in the Lafayette market is there’s a dress-up element,” said Eric Hedrick, who owns Bengals & Bandits. “We are selling a lot of dress shirts for men and women in addition to accessories, bangles and earrings, red and black scarves, stuff like that.”

And anything that UL coach Mark Hudspeth wears becomes an instant best-seller, according to Armentor.

“The coaches’ polos are huge right now,” Armentor said. “’If Coach Hud is wearing it, I want to be wearing it.’”

Each store selling Ragin’ Cajuns goods has a niche that sets it apart from the competition.

For the Red Zone, it’s the fact that all proceeds go back to university programs.

“Remember that you’re spending money on campus, so it stays on campus,” Armentor said.

For Bengals & Bandits, it’s specialty styles that cannot be found elsewhere, including a new line of vintage and retro UL T-shirts that will be introduced next week.

“Our product mix separates us from the competition,” Hedrick said.

Whatever you wear, make it red.

The UL Ragin’ Cajuns will take on the Nicholls State University Colonels at 6 p.m. Saturday at Cajun Field.