New glory days for Old Glory

Rock ‘n’ roll music merchandise print and Web catalog Old Glory is back in the hands of its original owner. Glenn Morelli — who started Old Glory as a boutique T-shirt business in 1980 and launched the catalog in 1993 — in November reacquired his interest in from New York-based multititle merchant Alloy.

Alloy had paid $9.6 million for the Old Glory catalog and Web business in December 2002. But in early 2004, Alloy shuttered Old Glory, as well as teen girls’ apparel title Girlfriends LA. So Morelli, who had held on to his three Old Glory stores in Connecticut and added five mall-based stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Georgia, moved to reclaim the direct side of the business.

Morelli would not comment on how much he paid to buy back the direct business, saying only that he paid “market value.” The deal included the Old Glory catalog and Website names and a release of Morelli’s noncompete agreement.

But the deal did not include Old Glory’s house file, which at the time the direct business was sold consisted of about 300,000 names. So Morelli had to scramble to find names to get a catalog in the mail in December.

The company printed about 650,000 copies of a 64-page catalog, says marketing director Doug Kneeland. Copies were mailed to about 7,000 requesters from the Website and from sign-up sheets at the retail locations. But the catalogs were primarily distributed through Old Glory’s stores and at rock concerts, Morelli says.

A fulfilling opportunity

Old Glory, which specializes in rock-music-related apparel, accessories, and collectibles, operates a 65,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Old Saybrook, CT. A sister company, Red Rocket Merchandising, manufactures licensed apparel for music artists. Other divisions of the company include a third-party fulfillment business, which fulfills for about a dozen clients, including music media network Artist Direct, High Times magazine, and two United Hockey League franchises, the Richmond RiverDogs and the Adirondack Frostbite — both of which Morelli owns.

Now that the stores, the catalog, and the Website are back under the same umbrella, Old Glory is “truly going to be multichannel,” Morelli says. “Before, the channels acted as separate entities. Now we want customers to go into the stores and be able to pick up a catalog, or go online while in the stores via a kiosk.”

Toward that end, the company has developed proprietary point-of-sale software to better capture traffic data from the stores. Old Glory plans to use the store-customer information to better target catalog mailings and other promotions, Morelli says.

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