Over 50 Years
The Locker Room grew out of a family tradition of providing products and services to the public. Owner and Founder, Alex Gatewood, was raised in the Mississippi Delta where he worked in his father’s grocery store and gas station. Following his graduation from Mississippi State University, he desired to broaden his knowledge in retailing and was hired by the Pizitz family in Birmingham to participate in their Management Training program and learn the clothing business. While learning the fine points of retailing, he saw the value of owning and operating his own business where he could make all the decisions and serve the public in a more personal setting. Along with his mentor, Bill Samuels, he opened the Locker Room on The Strip in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The store was located for 2 years two blocks west of its current location (now Surin) but has remained in the old red wooden house on The Strip for the past 49 years.
At the age of 23, Alex opened the Tuscaloosa store and hired University students as employees. He and they grew up together as he broadened his base and opened more stores in various cities in Mississippi plus one in Montgomery, Alabama. Alex briefly moved to Jackson, Mississippi, but saw that the Tuscaloosa store was the most successful so moved his family back to run that store himself fulltime. Over a period of years he closed the other sites and sold the Montgomery store located on Carter Hill Road to his Montgomery partner, George Wilder, where it is still a successfully run operation today under George’s skillful eye.
Many of his employees continued on in the clothing business as sales representatives. Long, lasting industry friendships have remained through the many years of the store’s operation. Those first employees and customers still send their sons and grandsons to the Locker Room as these students pursue their education at the University of Alabama. Alex has kept the traditional business clothing over the years while also realizing that certain trends in clothing were necessary to clothe the college students. He has long carried very highly valued brands such as Samuelsohn, Cole-Haan, Corbin, Robert Talbot, Gitman, Polo, Ballin, Martin Dingman and others. He has also established a young following for Peter Millar, Johnnie-O, and Tasc.
Some years ago, Alex trademarked his green-eyed elephant logo which has enjoyed a nationwide popularity in football gameday wear for both men and women. University of Alabama Gameday weekends wherever held, are populated with many of the clothing items sold at the Locker Room and through its website. Alex continues to find innovative ways to enhance his clothing lines. His staff is comprised of friendly, courteous and helpful young men plus Tom Hammond who has been an employee for 15 years. Rush Crawford began his career as a freshman and continues as an asset 14 years later in his role as partner and operations manager. Rush and Alex understand that making the customer a priority while providing the best quality clothing and service is the formula that will continue to make the Locker Room the success it has enjoyed since its inception in 1964.