Campus Colors boosts spirit in Hinsdale
Jill Rhiner of Hinsdale says she and her husband are University of Iowa alumni and have made Hawkeye fans out of their sons. Rhiner shops a lot for her sons and nephews in Campus Colors in Hinsdale. | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
Hinsdale: 777 N. York Road (Gateway Square)
Highland Park: 599 Central Ave.
Chicago: Water Tower Place
Deer Park: Town Center
Updated: November 12, 2012 1:29AM
HINSDALE — Go Notre Dame! Go Illini! Go Iowa! Rah-rah!
No matter what team you are rooting for, Campus Colors has the outfit and equipment for you.
The Campus Colors store in Hinsdale sells both college and professional sports teams’ apparel and accessories.
While the sale of Chicago Bulls or Blackhawks paraphernalia may ebb and flow with the team’s win-loss record, people’s support of their alma mater remains steadfast, said Jon Rubenstein, who owns Campus Colors with his parents, Neil and Barbara Rubenstein of Highland Park.
“Your loyalty to your college team lasts with you throughout your lifetime,” Jon Rubenstein said. “College is more than an education, it’s an experience. So you still support them through thick and thin.”
Children become fans of the teams from the colleges their parents attended, too.
“My kids are Iowa fans because my husband and I went to University of Iowa,” said Jill Rhiner, who was shopping in Campus Colors in the Gateway Square shopping center in Hinsdale.
“We get families in here whose team is playing Northwestern (University) in Evanston,” Rubenstein said. “The whole family gets a sweatshirt or a cap because they are going to the game.”
Kristina Petras, who works at the store, said, “the three I’s” are big — the universities of Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.
Notre Dame is another university with “a very strong connection in the western suburbs,” Rubenstein said.
Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team is scheduled to play the University of Miami at Soldier Field on Oct. 6.
“We’ll have a real peaked interest from Notre Dame fans as we get closer to that game,” Rubenstein said. “We’ll stock up on Notre Dame merchandise.”
Sales are not just driven by loyal alumni, however, but by which teams are hot.
“Absolutely,” Rubenstein said. “The Oregon Ducks are one of our top five sellers. They have a great football team.”
In addition, Rubenstein said, the team “has really cool jerseys and people like the colors. That’s part of it.”
“When you see a team playing well, everyone jumps on the bandwagon,” he said. “But you have the same effect on the other side. Penn State (merchandise) with all the recent news has really fallen off for us. You still have some alums buying stuff.”
But following the conviction of former football coach Jerry Sandusky for child sex abuse, “people won’t even consider looking at a Penn State jersey,” Rubenstein said.
Among Chicago’s professional sports franchises, fans are most loyal to their football team.
“Bears merchandise is by far and away our No. 1 pro team,” Rubenstein said. “Chicago is a Bears town. No doubt about it.”