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Shop offers variety
in European clothing
Dy JOHN DRESCKEH
Bob Simpson turned around, pointed to a woman look
ing at his store's casual clothes, and asked her why she
shopped at his store, Town and Campus.
"It's the best shop I've ever seen for men's clothes,"
said the woman, a regular customer from Charlotte. "It
attracts a certain customer that can't be satisfied with all
that Izod stuff."
For nearly 20 years, Simpson has been cjosely involved
in the everyday operation of Town and Campus, a unique
Chapel Hill shop that blends a long Franklin Street tradi
tion with a progressive line of clothing. The two-story
building, which houses a women's department on the up
per floor, is the only store on Franklin Street that ven
tures away from the traditional Ivy League style by spe
cializing in European clothing.
Simpson, a 1956 UNC graduate, started working for the
store as a sophomore in 1952, when the store was a year
old. Except for a two-year stint in the service, he has
worked continuously at Town and Campus. He bought a
portion of the store in 1967, and now owns and runs the
store with his wife Anne, also a UNC graduate. -
For years the store sold traditional clothing. "We were
just like everybody else," he said. "We changed about
eight years ago, in the early '70s, to European clothing.
We tried to get out of the general run of everybody hav
ing the same thing."
The women's department continues to sell traditional
clothes, but downstairs the latest European and contem
porary styles predominate. Yet, even with its contempo
rary styles, the store, complete with fireplaces, still gives
a warm, traditional feeling.
Simpson said his store was the only one in the state
that specialized in European clothing. Consequently, he
attracts customers from all over the state, and even some
from out of state. He said he was glad he had made the
switch to the European clothes he now sold, largely be
'. cause he enjoyed buying the clothes to stock his store.
"If s what I like and if s what Anne likes' he said. "If s
fun buying. The other stuff can be bought by phone. How
hard is it to buy an Izod shirt?"
The Simpsons' traveled to Europe five times to pur
chase clothes, and have made numerous trips to New
York City to stock the store with unique lines.
"Ifs exciting," Anne Simpson said. "You never know
what they're going to have for you."
"I like to go to New York as much as possible," her hus
band said as he waited on a customer. "Ifs another ad
vantage of working with small lines they continue to
come up with new styles. They don't stagnate."
In switching to the more expensive European style of
clothing, Simpson lost much of the college crowd that
used to shop at Town and Campus. But he feels more and
more college students, bored with the preppie .look and
enticed by Simpson's attempt to keep prices down, are
again shopping at his store. It doesn't hurt that the store
is on Franklin Street, a location Simpson considers ideal.
"I don't like malls," he said. The streefs open space
makes for more pleasant shopping, he said. "Even with
lousy parking, ifs still the best place. After football
games, do you see people head out to the mall?"
After football games, customers may browse at Town
and Campus. But not during games, because when game
time rolls along, the Simpsons continue what was once a -Chapel
Hill merchant tradition of closing down the store
.and heading to Kenan Stadium. After the game, they re
turn to the store and open again. Even with its non-traditional
clothing. Town and Campus, with its long Chapel
Milt history, remains a traditional Franklin Street store.
Kenny tizah hss waked csaccsk fit tha ftht for 22 yczrs ' ' '
Campus landmark provides good eating
and a taste of Chapel Hill the way it was
By LYNNS THOMSON
Before taking the stairs up to Purds Friday
night, try taking the ones down into Amber Alley
and go back to the Ramshead Rathskeller.
The food in this campus landmark is good but
to get the full effect of the Rat's tradition talk to
Kenny Mann, the cook who has worked there for
32 years. Or ask Jim Gotten, who has worked at
the Rat since it opened in 1948, to reminisce
about what Chapel Hill was like then.
"(It was the) only place to go for food, almost,"
said Mann of the Rat's role in Chapel Hill years
The Rat began serving lunch in 1957, Mann
said. Before that time it served just beer and
. "There was a piano over there in the corner,"
Cotten said, pointing across the small front room.
"Jim Wallace (former mayor and current town
council member of Chapel Hill) used to play the
piano sometimes' Cotten said that must have
been around 1950.
"Opened around 3:30 for Happy Hour," Cotten
said. Beer was 10? a mug then.
As early as 1951, the first black customer,
singer Marion Anderson, visited the Rathskeller,
Mann said. '
Cotten said Ted Danziger, who started the
Rathskeller, was a Jew who escaped from Ger
many in 1937.
"He didn't care what you were' Cotten said.
The Rathskeller was one of the first integrated
businesses in Chapel Hill, long before the sit-ins of
1958 which forced integration on local mer
chants, he said.
"(It was the) only business in Chapel Hill to use
the same bathroom (for blacks and white,. staff
Mann said the health inspector would take
points off of the restaurant's health rating for
allowing blacks to use the same restroom.
Customers were surprised and flustered to see
a black staff member in the bathroom back then,
Mann said. They would go back out and re-check
the sign to make sure that this was indeed the
Cotten said the Rathskeller was the first place
to let blacks work at the cash register and to let
them open up the restaurant.
Times have changed. By counting football
stars, the two men figured that Chapel Hill High
must have become integrated in 1967 while the
University became integrated in the mid-1950s
"Chapel Hill is one of the best places in 'he
world to live," Mann said. "You can go anywhere,
"Students are 'bout the same all the timt ' he
During the late '40s and the '50s, mostly
veterans attended the University, Cotten said.
They were older than the average student and had
seen more of the world.
"No ficts," Cctten. but characterized them as
rowdy despite thair wcr!d!;nc5S. It was "more fun
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