Pencils. Lanyards. T-Shirts. Shorts. Pants. Hats. Onesies. Polos. Thermal jackets. Corn hole boards.
Almost anything you could ever want to rep the TJ Jaguars and showcase your black and gold pride can now be found at the Jag Den pop-up store, located in Bill Green’s Shopping Center on Old Clairton Road through Sept. 30. The pop-up will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. most days, but given that it’s a pop-up, that’s flexible.
Once the pop-up store closes, the merchandise will move to the official student-run Jaguar Den that’s set to open in roughly a month inside the new Thomas Jefferson High School.
The pop-up was the brainchild of Matt Rohm, president of LeWay Enterprises, a custom apparel and promotional solutions company located on Streets Run Road in Baldwin Borough.
The TJ area is one of the company’s largest customers, ordering everything from little league to traveling league and some school sports uniforms through them, said Rohm, a ‘91 graduate of Baldwin High School.
With the opening of the new $95 million Thomas Jefferson High School this month, Rohm said his company wanted to do something with the district.
The company partnered with TJ’s Jaguar Den, which wasn’t ready to open for the start of school.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we open up one for you?’ Then, when they’re ready, they’re going to take the product and buy it and sell it in their store,” he said.
Christine Bacola, a business teacher at TJ, said LeWay will be a supplier for the new Jaguar Den, so the partnership fits perfectly. While the new high school made its big debut on Aug. 18, they didn’t want to rush the opening of the school store — which she says will be more like a college bookstore.
“We didn’t want to open until we’re ready to wow everybody,” she said. So the pop-up is a great transition.
Interns at LeWay made a pop-up possible. Also, Bill Green’s Shopping Center had space — right next to Atria’s — open and was willing to work with them on a short-term lease.
The company made roughly $10,000 worth of Jaguar gear to sell in the store, which opened to the public on Aug. 19. But already after the first day, they had orders for more hoodies.
“We wanted to capture TJ,” Rohm said of the variety of items sold in the store.
Just a day after opening, there was a steady stream of people coming in to get their Jaguar gear.
“It’s been overwhelming,” said Ann Rohm, 72, of Jefferson Hills, who was running the pop-up that day for her son. She hadn’t worked since 2006 when she retired from teaching in Baldwin-Whitehall.
“Everybody is so excited,” she said, adding that everyone that comes in knows each other and there’s often a lot of “Hi, how are yous?” throughout the store.
They’ve seen everyone from coaches to lots of teachers and families coming in to buy their Jag wear. They’ve even sold a few of the “Welcome to the Jungle” onesies for the littlest Jaguar fans.
Bailey and Maggie Spell of Jefferson Hills, ages 13 and 11 respectively, stopped by with their dad, who learned about the pop-up on social media.
Both play several sports at Pleasant Hills Middle School and were excited to have more TJ clothes to show off their pride.
“We’ve got to support our team,” Maggie said, already asking her dad if they can come back because she sees more items that she wants.
Bailey said at school everyone wears TJ apparel on Fridays, so it’s important that they have it.
While mom Ann Rohm and LeWay’s employees staffed the pop-up in its first few days, the goal is for the company to hire students from TJ’s retail management class who run the official Jaguar Den to help at the pop-up so they get the experience and learn the new merchandise, Bacola said.
As for the official Jaguar Den, they’re still working out the logistics for its hours of operation and a new website to sell the items to the public.