It's probably a lament often heard in Mizzou Nation: Where can I lay my hands on a bottle opener that plays "Fight Tigers" when I pop the top of my brew?
The answer is here at last. The Mizzou Store opened quietly in the Chesterfield Valley on Aug. 29, but has its official grand opening this week. And if you visit the store at 10 THF Boulevard, near the eastern end of the massive retail strip mall off of Highway 40, prepare yourself:
You might overload on black and gold.
There are T-shirts and sweatshirts, bottle cozys and blankets. There is even that bottle opener we mentioned earlier.
"I think that's pretty crazy. That makes me laugh," said Michelle Froese, spokesman for The Mizzou Store. "We also have grill accessories so you can brand your meat."
The store is the first of its kind, a retail shop for the masses, operated by the University of Missouri. It's run as an extension of the university's bookstore. The store has plans to expand, depending on how business goes in Chesterfield. Another store at the Galleria Mall in Richmond Heights called Tiger Town sells nothing but Mizzou clothing and other goods as well. It's a branch of the Lids sportswear chain.
"We think this a good model, so we're watching it and we hope to see it develop," Froese said. She said Mizzou alumni in Kansas City were disappointed that they weren't getting one, but they looked at the concentration of alumni in the St. Louis area and decided this was the place to start.
A delay in getting a sign on the storefront delayed the grand opening. The operators didn't want to miss the start of football season, so they opened anyway. The sign went up on Wednesday morning, so the grand opening is set for Thursday at noon this time.
The first 20 customers get a free Truman Build-a-Bear. There will be cake and refreshments and the next day, visitors will get a 25 percent discount for clothing and gifts.
The biggest sellers so far at The Mizzou Store are any merchandise branded with the Southeastern Conference logo. Now that the University of Missouri has moved from the Big 12 to the SEC, fans are crazy for T-shirts and sweatshirts with the new logo.
Froese said net profits from the store go back into student scholarships, programs and facilities at the university.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.