Over 50 Years
The Locker Room grew out of a life-long family tradition of providing products and service 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 among other jobs. After graduation from Mississippi State University he knew he wanted to broaden his knowledge and applied and was hired by Pizitz of Birmingham to learn the clothing business. While learning all he could at this job he knew 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 location was chosen because they saw a void in the city for the type business they wanted to provide. The store was located for most of the first 50 years in the old red house on the Strip. In 2015, it was relocated to its current location on University Blvd at the corner of 21st Street.
When Alex opened with the first store he was twenty-three years old 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 and one in Montgomery, Alabama. Alex briefly moved to Jackson, Mississippi, but saw that the Tuscaloosa store was the most successful and moved his family back to run the home store. Over a period of years he closed the other sites and sold his partner in Montgomery the store located there which still bears the Locker Room name.
Many of his employees continued in the clothing business as sales representatives and long, lasting friendships remain through the years of the store’s operation. Those first employees and customers have since sent their sons and grandsons to the Locker Room as they pursued 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 names such as Samuelsohn, Cole-Haan, Corbin, Robert Talbot, Gitman, Polo, Peter Millar, Ballin and others. He also has found a following for Tasc, Southern Tide, and Bill’s Khakis among other younger lines.
Some years ago Alex trademarked his green-eyed elephant logo which has enjoyed a nation-wide popularity in football game day wear to include both men and women. Home game weekends in Tuscaloosa are populated with many of the clothing items sold at the Locker Room and on our website.
Alex continues to find innovative ways to enhance his clothing lines. His staff is made of friendly, courteous and helpful young men-university students still. Rush Crawford began his career as a freshman and continues as an asset since his graduation in his role as part owner and operations manager. He and Alex know that pleasing the customer is a priority and providing the best quality in clothing and service will continue to make the Locker Room the success it has always been.