Today’s high school athletes – whose fashion sense is strongly influenced by social media, youth icons, music, and art – seek retailers that make an authentic connection to their aspirational lifestyles. Big Red Rooster helped Champs develop a flagship store that broke the boundaries of traditional retailing and e-commerce to engage shoppers in relevant and changing experiences.

The “Arena” design reflects the big lights and design detailing of high school sports venues. More importantly, the experience is crafted as a hub of sneaker culture that puts shoppers in touch with local sports, musicians, and artists. Large-scale art installations prove that the brand’s authenticity goes deep into the local community through partnerships with Little Black Pearl (an urban school for challenged youth, focused on art, life skills, and growth) and other aspiring artist groups. Digital integration into the space adds energy as well as a platform for cultural storytelling. Programmed events and product launches draw shoppers to The Mezz on the second level.

The store is now a place for athletes and “sneakerheads” to see and be seen as they explore a curated selection of the latest footwear and apparel. With the successful launch of the Chicago store, the concept is coming to other markets, such as New York’s Times Square. Some of the elements are now seen as inherent to the brand and are being rolled out to fleet stores.