Local Ann Arborites have come to trust Bivouac as the place for all their outdoor sporting needs – the store truly provides for the most diehard of outdoorsmen. Just do a little browsing and you’ll find everything from hiking boots, backpacks and Patagonia windbreakers to cross country skis, sleeping bags, travel books and trail maps.
More than just a haven for outdoorsy types, Bivouac has a lot more to offer – namely a collection of stylish clothes for men and women. Cutting-edge denim, hot brands and well-designed pieces make up the assortment of apparel that students on campus can’t get enough of. This year, Bivouac tops the list as best place for men’s and women’s clothing.
Opening its doors in 1971, Bivouac (literally, “a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters”) originated as an army surplus store on William Street, moving to its current location on State Street in 1973. As the Vietnam War ended, army surplus items became less popular, so Bivouac started to explore other retail areas, including women’s clothing. About five years ago, the store ventured into trendier men’s apparel as well.
Today, staple items and top sellers include denim and T-shirts for women, as well as polo shirts for men. A store signature for both sexes, decidedly, is fleece (Can you say The North Face?).
After Bivouac’s opening 35 years ago, other trendy retail outlets such as Urban Outfitters and, most recently, American Apparel, followed. But the competition has never worried Ed Davidson, Bivouac’s owner.
“All the stores have an identity. We might overlap in certain arenas, but we all have our own identity and I think that’s great because it brings more people in the neighborhood to shop,” Davidson said.
Bivouac certainly does have its own identity. Inside, the rustic, lodge-like atmosphere is stocked with a trail-mix variety of merchandise. Enter from the leftmost door and you’ll see counters showcasing Swiss army knives and sunglasses; venture further and you’ll discover fishing gear, men’s fleeces, windbreakers and other outdoor clothing. In the next room are hiking boots, backpacks and stylish designer clothing for men, including polos and sweaters from Ralph Lauren and Lacoste, dress shirts and jeans from Mavi, True Religion and AG, to name a few.
The next room houses outdoor clothing for women as well as yoga apparel and accessories. Upstairs are tents, sleeping bags, stoves and cook kits, climbing equipment, snow shoes and cross country skis. The room closest to Nickels Arcade is stocked with trendy clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories for women. There are Herv