By Cathy DeDe. Chronicle Managing Editor
With the Glens Falls School District ending its Indian nickname under New York’s statewide order, there’s a boom in sale of GFHS Indian merchandise.
“We definitely see more people coming in, looking specifically for items with Indians and the arrowhead logo, since the announcement,” says Kevin Hall, who operates Hallwear on Lawrence Street.
“I think there’s a lot of nostalgia, and also, people saying, ‘I’ll wear what I want to wear.’”
But he says Hallwear is sensitive to the school’s situation and the issue overall.
“It’s kind of a tricky spot. We’re trying to work with everyone,” he says.
Mr. Hall’s father Dan launched Hallwear in 1996. Kevin took over operation of the business in 2018 when Dan was elected mayor.
Hallwear is “in a very unique position as a business that does so many orders for local teams,” said Kevin.
It prints and sells logo’ed school clothing, uniforms and other items.
Its retail shop features Glens Falls Indians, “Glens Falls Nation,” Lake George Warriors and other teams.
Mr. Hall said, “We hadn’t necessarily phased out the Indian head. We have done it a lot less, since we heard through the grapevine what the state was doing.
“We embraced the arrowhead. We’ve done a lot of that for our retail shop, and team orders. Now I guess we’re put in a little bit of a tough situation, of our own doing,” since the arrowhead definitely has to go, and it’s not clear yet about Glens Falls Nation.
He said, “We have a lot of things for retail, and a lot of customers are still asking for it. But we also want to have a good relationship and work with the schools.”
Mr. Hall adds, “I’m in a unique position because I am from Glens Falls. I coach seventh grade football and varsity track, so I have a little bit of an insider knowledge. My take is, the schools have been put in a tough position. They’re just trying to follow the rules the state has come down with.
“We sympathize with them. As a business, I don’t have to follow the rules from the Board of Education, but I’m not going to throw away the opportunity to work with the schools.
“Right now it’s been mostly waiting to see what happens. We anticipate a lot of people will want the new stuff when they change. We are trying to be diplomatic. We do a lot of stuff with the schools and clubs. We want to work with the administration and help them.
“I think the state might have been short-sighted with not having any kind of phasing out plan, like, for changing all the school uniforms.”
He said they’ve talked to Glens Falls about, say, covering up or removing a small arrowhead logo, so an existing uniform could be adapted.
He notes, also, how much other imagery throughout the district, on buildings, on the gym floor, will have to change, the trouble and expense involved.
Mr. Hall says, “Personally, as a coach and as a former Glens Falls athlete, I don’t think this changes the history.
“I guess, if some people are offended, we should take that into consideration.”
Another impacted school is Corinth, which is retiring its Tomahawk team name and imagery.
Mr. Hall says Hallwear recently designed apparel for the Corinth baseball team with a large letter “C” and crossed baseball bats against a home plate, in the district’s orange and black school colors.
Besides Glens Falls, Hallwear’s “big four” schools are the South Glens Falls Bulldogs, Hudson Falls Tigers and Queensbury Spartans, all spared the mascot drama.
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