Shoppers will soon be able to shop for Nike-branded apparel on the Walker High School campus, thanks to a career and technical training partnership that will see the school establish its own Nike apparel store, ChequeMATE.
Manager Jason St. Pierre said he expects the store to open by the end of March, adding that students from the school’s DECA program have been interviewing students about the clothes and shoes that they most prefer to determine the goods that the school will stock in the store.
“As part of this agreement, we will have marketing professionals from Nike’s think tank organization come to our school to teach our students about visual merchandising, how to start a business, how to follow and set trends, and shoot profit from the current market,” said St. Pierre.
Nike supplies merchandise to the school at approximately 40% less than its price to commercial retailers, allowing the school to sell items at a more affordable price than what is offered at some department stores or the Nike Outlet Store.
He said the school would sell generic items, without a school logo, as well as items personalized with the Walker Wildcat logo.
“We plan to provide our customers with basic outfits to choose from,” said Hannah Hernandez, student leader of Walker High School’s school enterprise program, which includes the school’s green and white cookie store, balloons and gifts.
She said ChequeMATE will include part of Nike’s new summer product line.
“We look forward to working with the pros at Nike to help us figure out how to compete and get exposure. This partnership is definitely a benefit to our school curriculum and education to become business entrepreneurs,” Hernandez said.
WHS senior Evan Bergeron, head of marketing for the school’s Green and White Cookie Store, said he’s excited to bring a great brand to campus and expects a great response across campus.
“Not having to go anywhere else to get big brand clothes will be a big plus for our students and for local residents,” he said. “Nike is a great product. It’s a known product that will give instant credibility to our program,” Bergeron said.
Hernandez said the expansion of the new high school campus will help make the new store more accessible to the general public. The new campus will open on Florida Boulevard, and St. Pierre said he plans to move the store to a more accessible location on campus.
Hernandez said the school will also offer special promotions to campus visitors during orientation events, open houses, after pep rallies and before football games and other sporting events.
St. Pierre said Walker High is one of only two high schools in the area to be declared Nike schools, which means the schools have partnered with the company to equip the school’s athletic departments with Nike gear and team apparel. The other school in the area is Zachary High School.
Nike plans to sponsor the district football game between the two schools next season, St. Pierre said. He said ChequeMATE will be open to the public on the day of that game.