July 11, 2011 5:43 AM
A few years after graduating from Tulane, David Cariello purchased Campus Connection, the neighborhood college-apparel store where he spent a number of his undergraduate years working as an embroiderer.
"I really enjoyed the small business environment," says the soon-to-be 30-year-old, who majored in history and at one time thought he would become a high school teacher. "I talked to my parents about buying the store during my senior year, and they were able to help me get things going."
Cariello says he acted after listening to a recurring conversation between the former owners, who regularly mentioned they were interested in selling. "They said that to a lot of people, but I was the only one who took them seriously," he recalls.
Campus Connection is known widely for personalized Greek-letter paraphernalia and Tulane University gear. Costume designing can be added to Cariello's resume since he produced the sorority shirts worn in the movie So Undercover, which was shot on campus earlier this year.
After buying the store in 2008 and later purchasing the building in 2009, Cariello turned his attention to marketing the store so that it would have a more youthful vibe.
As part of his plan, he created a website, began marketing through social media and became a licensed vendor of official Tulane University clothing and gifts. He also eliminated all things branded "Louisiana State University."
"There was a small section of the store dedicated to LSU stuff, but I thought, 'I'm a Tulane graduate,' so I pulled it out," says Cariello.
Carriello's wife, who is an alumna of Loyola University in New Orleans, is still pushing for the addition of a Loyola section. He has not budged.
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