Rally House Aggieville to open 8/20/16

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Rally House and Kansas Sampler will open for a new retail store in Manhattan, Kansas.

“I’m very pleased that a retailer is going in and that it is a retailer as strong as Rally House – it’s going to be good for Aggieville and Manhattan.” Jon Levin, former owner.

On Saturday August 20, 2016, Rally House and Kansas Sampler will open for a new retail store in Manhattan, Kansas. The new Rally House Aggieville store will be located in downtown Aggieville where the now closed Varney’s bookstore resided.

Rally House CEO, Aaron Liebert, “We’re very excited about the opportunity to open in Manhattan. Obviously we have big shoes to fill. Varney’s was an icon in Aggieville and beloved by all. Even though we have been selling K-State merchandise for twenty years, we had intentionally stayed away from Manhattan because Varney’s was the institution.”

On June 30th after 126 years in business, Varney’s shuttered its doors to all three of their locations. In a letter to the public, the owner of Varney’s Book Store, Jon Levin, made the announcement that came as a shock to all in the town, the University and the Alumni.

When asked about the closing of Varney’s, CEO, Aaron Liebert replied, “As a small, Kansas business ourselves, we were saddened by the closure. Nobody likes to see a local, family business close, even if they are your competitor. The demise of the book business caught a lot of retailers around the country.”

The circumstances around the closer were set in motion over the past few years when the business lost the book contracts causing their overall revenue to fall more than 80%.

“For us the similarities between Varney’s and Rally House are very close – give or take a hundred years. We are a family owned business that started in 1989 in Kansas to support artisan products and food that was bought from merchants in small towns throughout the state of Kansas. Both families hold the same core values of supporting the community with a retail focus. As we move in and get comfortable in the new space, we will be releasing more information on how we intend to continue on with the tradition of providing Manhattan and all K-State fans with the best possible service and products anywhere,” Liebert added.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Jon Levin, the former owner, “I’m very pleased that a retailer is going in and that it is a retailer as strong as Rally House – it’s going to be good for Aggieville and Manhattan.”

In 1989, Rally House began as Mabel’s Kitchen and then Kansas Sampler. Kansas Sampler began as a vision of two young idealists, Peg (Mabel) and Tim Liebert, who grew up hearing President Kennedy challenge the nation, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Peg and Tim starting the company was a mission of deep commitment and love of the state of Kansas. “We designed different gift assortments and gave them names like Amber Waves and Great Plains. We found Kansas t- shirts and Kansas picture and history books. We were all about the great state of Kansas. And found artists that created college collages of Kansas schools, KU, KSU, PSU and Wichita State and artisans that created products and food grown in Kansas” said Peg Liebert, co-founder of Rally House/Kansas Sampler.

As the company grew to other states, new stores are called Rally House; however, at most of the older Kansas locations, Kansas Sampler is still proudly displayed.    

Today, Rally House/Kansas Sampler is now a regional sports apparel, accessories and gift store with over sixty retail outlets in nine states throughout the country.

FOR ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT GEOFF PICKERING, VP OF MARKETING AT RALLY HOUSE/KANSAS SAMPLER AT 816-807-3367 OR gpickering(at)rallyhouse(dot)com

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Alysa Ojeda
Rally House
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