Latics’ new club shop, imaginatively titled the Latics Club Shop, was unofficially up and running this morning. Stocking such merchandise as Wigan Athletic branded golf tees, babies’ bibs and cuddly teddy bears, it’s already looking a bit more promising than last year’s Latics WN1 trial run.
This time round, there were no photographers or guest appearances (at least not when I was there, about 10ish), rather a selection of half price Latics merchandise so we could all be ripped off by 50 rather than 100 percent. The glitz and glamour will be present on Tuesday afternoon as a selection of the Wigan squad and backroom staff officially launch the new Wigan Athletic home kit for the 2010 season.
And it’s certainly an improvement on the previous incarnation, with a much brighter atmosphere and better ‘shop’ feel. The one next to Ryman’s felt as though it was run by Arkwright from Open All Hours or something, a dark (and slightly smelly) cave in the deepest depths of the Galleries.
Latics’ marketing gurus seem to have learned from the WN1 experiment, and there’s no doubt the more spacious location across from BB’s Cafe is a lot more welcoming and professional.
As for the volume of stock, there’s just about the same as there used to be, but it’s all laid out in a more pleasing and accessible fashion. No comfy sofas though, sadly.
That didn’t stop the punters piling in, though. Things looked quite busy while I was there, so maybe the stock clearout gimmick was somewhat successful – there were three assistants on the counter so I’m guessing the big cheeses expected a hectic opening day.
Speaking of big cheeses, guess whose book was displayed rather prominently by the checkouts? That’s right, the Mighty Gorgonzola himself, Dave Whelan. He was nowhere to be seen, though. Think he might be on holiday in Barbados or something.