New Bo Schembechler store in Ann Arbor pays tribute to a football legend
The man known by most on campus for saying the phrase “Those who stay will be champions” is now also the face of a new store.
For many at the University of Michigan, this quote, coined by the late Glenn “Bo” Schembechler in a speech to the Michigan football team in 1969, is a way he's remembered.
The former Michigan football head coach from 1969 to 1989 now has a new store in his honor, too with the mission of embodying his winning spirit and becoming a place where all fans and alumni can relive and celebrate his accomplishments. The store located at 333 S. Main St. in downtown Ann Arbor, opened two weeks ago.
By offering unique “Bo” branding in partnership with the Schembechler estate, co-owners Ryan Gregg and Rishi Narayan, both University graduates, said they offer a one-of-a-kind shop where patrons can buy exclusive merchandise in honor of the coach.
“The idea that we wanted to capture was something different, something unique and something that we think hasn’t really been represented on campus or kind of in the Michigan fan spectrum — and that's this idea of something, not just a Michigan shirt,” Gregg said.
Gregg and Ryan are also the owners of Underground Printing and Moe Sport Shops. Underground Printing does custom printing for the athletic department and student groups, and Moe sells University apparel. Gregg said he uses their own production facility on the west side of Ann Arbor to supply a lot of the goods in the shop.
“We’re able to produce a lot of what we sell in the store right here, locally,” he said.
Gregg said they want the store to be a landmark on game days, a place where people can learn about Bo and his influence if they do not already know about it. He also hopes the store to be a place where people come to when they visit Ann Arbor after they graduate.
“There’s something about a certain pride or a nostalgia beyond just a game day,” Gregg said. “And we think that Bo kind of stands for more than just football; he kind of encapsulates all of this rite of Michigan greatness.”
Gregg and Narayan said said the store is a method of keeping the traditions that Schembechler taught alive, citing how many alumni and fans have reached out to them with their stories about University history both in academics and athletics, which inspired them to make the store. They have worked with Cathy Schembechler and the Schembechler estate now for six years, and the Bo store is in partnership with them during the summer.
“We have a fantastic relationship — Cathy is great,” Gregg said. “She still actually works with us on all products that come out. We’re working to help bring to life this memory of Bo.”
Though many stores today are shifting online, Gregg said he wanted their store to be the full experience.
“We really believe in stores,” Gregg said. “In this day and age you see a lot of online companies, and anybody can start a website. But we want to have something tangible, here in Ann Arbor, as part of the community.”
The Bo store features several popular brands, such as Cutter & Buck, johnnie-O, Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers, with many of the shirts featuring a silhouette of Bo on the sidelines or his actual signature.
“You can still get a Michigan shirt in here,” Gregg said. “But instead of your traditional store, which is predominantly Michigan, this has a Michigan undertone, but Bo was in the forefront of what we’re doing.”
In the two weeks the Bo store has been open, Gregg said he has had players of former football teams come visit who played for Bo, or alumni who attended the University when Bo was coach, who come in and recount their memories of going to games.
“We started to see that there was a whole demographic of Michigan fan that cared more about the experience and their memories and relationship with their store than just buying a Michigan shirt,” Gregg said.
Gregg added that the Bo store appeals to both young and old generations because of the emotions of nostalgia and pride that Bo brings out in them.
“We think that a lot of the things that people do relate to with Michigan, he represents,” Gregg said. “Toughness, winning, integrity, greatness — and who better to personify that than Bo?”