Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 18, 2012

’95 Blazer graduate back in town to help open Wildcat Wearhouse

ASHLAND — Jennifer Fryman has been back in her hometown for three days during a practically nonstop effort to prepare for customers on the first day of business at the new Wildcat Wearhouse on 13th Street, although she hasn’t had a chance to catch up with old friends or take a look around.

“We haven’t been to bed ... I’ve had two hours of sleep,” said Fryman, a 1995 graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School who now works as director of stores for Wildcat Wearhouse. Watching her at work, you’d never know she coordinated the grand opening of the 15th Wildcat Wearhouse the day before in Madisonville before dashing to Ashland to stock shelves and help everyone find the right combination of blue and white in the right sizes.

The new shop, at 2120 13th St. between Tim Horton’s and Little Caeser’s, is owned by Doug Schneider, Matt Hoetker and Brandon Everman. Fryman said she got involved with the company when her former employer, Dawahare’s (formerly the state’s top distributor of University of Kentucky branded merchandise), went out of business. Their first shop was in Lexington, she said, conveniently located on Broadway near Rupp Arena with the capability to print and sell the latest must-have Wildcat T-shirts before the fans have left the arena.

“Everyone knows before the buzzer that Broadway will have the first shirts. We have people lined up around the corner waiting for the shirts before the game is even over. We print all of our own stuff so there is no middle man. That allows us to have quick response and great prices,” Fryman said, quickly adding everything they produce is completely licensed and fully approved by the University of Kentucky.

“I guess we have 500 designs that we could choose to print at any minute. There’s three or four T-shirts that we are known for,” she said, pointing out the “Southerner’s Dream” shirt which is likely their most recognized piece of apparel.

“It’s ‘The’ T-shirt to have,” she added with confidence.

Wildcat Wearhouse specializes in items for men, women and children in a broad range of sizes including 3X and 4X, Fryman said, with each store combining music and antiques to create “a fun atmosphere,” Fryman said. It is a formula fans seem to appreciate. “We just went crazy opening all kinds of stores,” Fryman said, listing locations including Pikeville, Hazard, Danville, Somerset, Corbin and Owensboro. “We are everywhere.”

 The 16-store operation includes four locations in Louisville, Fryman said, almost avoiding eye contact and practically whispering that the Louisville locations are the only stores that sell official apparel for both UK and U of L.

“We don’t put anything Louisville on the website. Just Kentucky,” she said with a grin.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at

tpreston@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2651.

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