Urban Outfitters Drives Local Competition in Columbia, SC


The State published an online article Feb. 28 confirming Urban Outfitters July 12 opening at 912 Gervais.  The well-known franchise is predicted to target University of South Carolina’s student population and local young professionals, stirring competition and controversy towards local businesses offering similar merchandise.

Bohemian, a boutique at 707 Saluda Avenue in Five Points, is among the local retailers apprehensive of Urban Outfitters future arrival in the Midlands.

“It’s all we’ve been talking about recently,” Anna Williams, Store Manager of Bohemian, said during an in-store interview. “ The concern of overlapping lines and similar prices will determine our monthly revenue and recognize any changes once Urban Outfitters is up and running.”

Williams expressed her concerns for the store’s quotas, but immediately mentioned the strong customer base Bohemian offers, as well as “a familiar and friendly atmosphere that is more reachable and accessible as a smaller-scale retailer.”

“There’s a uniqueness to our pieces that Urban Outfitters will have a difficult time trying to compete with.  You wouldn’t have to worry about matching someone else as often as you would by shopping at Urban.”

Both Urban Outfitters and Bohemian’s core customer base consists of college students and young professionals.  The buzz on campus stems future considerations to choose Urban Outfitters before Bohemian, as described by Dayna Gralla and Tyler Hutchinson, both juniors at the University of South Carolina.

“It all comes down to price, variety, and previous brand exposure,” Gralla explained during a one-on-one interview, concerning her personal thoughts about choosing one of the two stores to shop at primarily.

“Urban’s pros outweigh the cons and even the pros of Bohemian,” Hutchinson said when asked the same question above during a campus interview. “At Urban, there’s a larger variety of styles to choose from, as well as a better selection of sale items, that are dramatically more affordable for my college budget than what Bohemian currently offers.  Yes, I may end up wearing something that someone else on campus has as well, but the chances of my one piece being worn and seen at the same time are very slim.”

The store is to open in the Vista, a short drive down Gervais intersecting Five Point’s popular Harden Street.  Williams shows optimism in regards to the separate store location districts.

“Five Points is known for its retail, and the Vista is known for its restaurants.  Bohemian is reachable and closely associated with USC already that there won’t be a major concern with customers striving for quality and uniqueness.”