Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The Trunk sells greek letters, custom jerseys for Alabama students

The Trunk sells greek letters, custom jerseys for Alabama students

In addition to supplying sorority pledges with their famous Bid Day packages, The Trunk offers a variety of original Alabama and greek products for students and alumni of UA. Owner Rich Anders shares his experience with The Crimson White about what it’s like to run this growing business:


The Crimson White: How did you get started in the retail industry?

Rich Anders: Well, it actually goes back 102 years with Anders Hardware, which was founded by my great-great-uncle and my great-grandfather in 1909. Anders Hardware has passed down from my grandfather, father and now me. Throughout the years, the company has purchased other retail establishments, and in 2002 The Trunk became one of our establishments.


CW: When did The Trunk open?

RA: The Trunk opened in 1946 and was originally a part of The Corner Store. Former owner Ginger Underwood then sold the business to us in 2002.


CW: What kind of merchandise do you sell?

RA: Our business is actually three businesses tied together under The Trunk name. The retail floor sells Alabama merchandise and greek merchandise. Within the Alabama section, we sell high-end Arthur Court elephant merchandise, children’s clothing and our custom jerseys. We are really famous for our personalized Trunk jersey, where you choose your name and number to go on it.

The second part of the business is contract sewing. We have four full-time sewers that work for us. We have a contract with the University of Alabama for sports, particularly football, basketball, gymnastics and softball. The athletes play in Nike jerseys that have been decorated here at The Trunk. We are proud to say that the uniforms they play and practice in come from our store.

We also hold contracts with local businesses selling our service of monogramming and embroidering shirts and anything you can think of. We will easily do hundreds of pieces in a week, and during a busy time we can do a thousand pieces a week.

Our third aspect of the business is This website includes mostly the things you see on the retail floor, such as UA merchandise.


CW: Do you sell more greek or University of Alabama merchandise?

RA: University of Alabama makes up about 75 percent of our business and 25 percent of it is greek. Over the years, the percentage of greek merchandise sales has grown considerably due to the size of the student body and greek population. We have several new sororities and fraternities that have been chartered, and with that came lots of new members and orders for sorority jerseys.

However, the bread and butter of this retail business is University of Alabama merchandise sales. When we stopped playing football games in Birmingham and started having seven home football games per season, that’s when our Alabama products became mainstay. Before that, we used to sell a lot of giftware.


CW: What makes your merchandise different than other stores in Tuscaloosa?

RA: What makes our business so successful is because everything you see hanging on the wall, clothing-wise, was made here. You can’t find that in other Alabama souvenir stores. It’s all one-of-a-kind items. You might see the same shirt in four different Alabama souvenir stores, and then you come here and see something different.


CW: What is your most popular item?

RA: The jerseys


CW: What is your favorite item in the store?

RA: I don’t want to say the jersey, but it is. The Trunk jersey is great because of how it’s custom to each individual. We have racks with all blank jerseys and you pick out your size and go to the register and tell them exactly what you want printed on it. We are all about personality and customer service.


CW: What do you enjoy most about being the owner of the store?

RA: It’s our fun business. The fans and alums that come in make it interesting and fun. People come to the ball games excited and ready for the atmosphere. It’s not like being in the hardware business where customers are already frustrated when they come in for a purchase. Sometimes, I just like to sit back and people watch.


CW: What is the hardest part about being the owner?

RA: The trends are the hardest part. It’s not fun when you think something is going to be big and invest a lot into it and then it’s not. Keeping up with the trends requires a lot of reading, watching TV, looking on the Internet to see things that are up and coming. The sorority tanks and sweatshirts have been huge trends recently.


CW: When is the busiest time for the business?

RA: August to December is our busiest season because of rush and football season. People are excited to be in school and want to purchase items to show support for their school. We focus on contracting during the spring and summer just to prepare for fall.


CW: Do you plan to stay at your current location?

RA: Yes, our location is fantastic. We are centrally located for the campus; it makes us in a perfect situation. There is a lot of walking traffic and student housing. We plan to be here until we grow out of our space.

More to Discover