Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa's Elves are Working at Rothco

Each year, the employees at ROTHCO “adopt” about 15 – 20 children in the area, and provide gifts, clothes and food for the holiday season. This year, the need expanded and we did what we do best – we rose to the occasion. One of our employees contacted the parents of her Girl Scout troop. Many of our other employees "adopted" 2 or 3 children, instead of just 1, and we added whole families.

Some of us just went to the grocery store, and picked up bags and bags of fruit and vegetables and cereal and pasta – and then we provided a few turkeys! And then we volunteered to spend hours wrapping and putting together “Christmas”.

All together, we provided gifts, and holiday groceries, for over 35 families – a total of 104 children!!!

In addition to this rewarding endeavor – we all had a great time – ROTHCO employees donated thousands of dollars to our sponsored charities. And ROTHCO corporate matched our donations 150%! Hope House Ministries received over $11,000, and Christmas Magic over $9,000.

And, as many of you know, our holiday card project allows us to donate to two additional charities, and this year, The Children’s Fund and Madonna Heights benefitted $1,700 each to help struggling and at-risk youth in our area.

Amid all the bad news, the weak economy, the high unemployment, we wanted to give you a little insight into how we stay positive and focused and determined to do our best! Tis the season……

Please go to the page Charities of our website for more information on the causes that Rothco supports.

Happy Holidays!

Ginger LaLumia
Director of Human Resources

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Function or Fashion?

In the military clothing business we are sometimes fortunate to come across old school items that become a hit with the soldiers. Other times, a military item will crossover and become a big hit with the fashion market. Rarely, if ever, will an item be hot in both areas at the same time.

Right now is one of those rare times when we've found an item that's in great demand by both military personnel and fashionistas, and that item is the Shemagh! Worn in the deserts for hundreds of years, military use of this by Westerners goes back to T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia. More recently, Charlie Sheen can be seen wearing one in the 1990 film "Navy SEALs". Here's a video from U S Cavalry showing how it's worn:

Currently, according to Wikipedia, "Since the beginning of the War on Terror, these keffiyeh, usually cotton and in military Olive drab or Khaki with black stitching, have been adopted by US and troops as well. Their practicality in an arid environment, as in Iraq, explains their constant popularity with soldiers. Soldiers often wear the keffiyeh folded in half into a triangle and wrapped around the face, with the halfway point being placed over the mouth and nose, sometimes coupled with goggles, to keep sand out of the face." Many of our dealers who serve U.S. military personnel in the Middle East and Afghanistan have requested this for their customers.

From a forum on comes this from a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg:

"Our unit issued us all a shemagh to protect us from the sun/dust and to endear us to the local population. I took mine every mission we went on, especailly in the winter. It works alot better than the standard neck gaiter for protection from the cold. We never really had a problem with wearing them with our uniform as long as it was outside the wire.The one the soldier in the picture is wearing can be purchased at all the PXs on base."

Everyone from Kanye West (see video below) to (famously) Rachel Ray has been wearing this out on the street and whether your customer is a fashion-craving teenager or a soldier leaving for deployment to the Middle East, the Rothco Shemagh is an absolute MUST HAVE! Now available in 6 colors and finally in stock, this nearly a guaranteed sale. In fact, I would suggest going to and ordering these NOW!

John Ottaviano

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

The answer? Priceless!!

I'm speaking about the toy puppy in the window of Uncle Sam's Army Navy on 8th Street in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. This is a store that gets a LOT of folks passing by, but the biggest challenge is getting them to come IN!

This inventive window display is certainly catching a lot of eyes, so much that it was featured in an article on, a website that chronicles the shopping happenings in New York and Los Angeles. And now that it's been picked up on that website, it's very likely it will picked up on more than a few others, each with a link to Uncle Sam's website.

There are a lot of great details in the window display, not the least of which are the military overcoats the Obamas are wearing, plus the cute little puppy the president-elect promised his young daughters on the night of the election.

Stores with prominent windows have a tremendous merchandising opportunity and it's important to update these AT LEAST once every season. This time of year is particularly important as we try to move holiday merchandise and outerwear. Your display doesn't have to be quite this provocative, but there are a lot of things you can do to attract the public (and media's) attention to your window like displays done in cooperation with local Boy Scout packs, Veteran's groups or even local charitable organizations. I once saw a great display down in Key West, FL where a retailer did a window with a dog theme to help the local ASCPA called "The Dog Days of Summer".

For more information on window displays (including pictures of that display in Key West) and store merchandising, check out Rothco's seminar from the August ASD show.

To paraphrase those credit card commercials, "What's in your windows?"

If you've got a picture of YOUR window display, we'd love to see it!!

Happy Holiday Retail Season!

John Ottaviano

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