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 family cotton farm. Following his graduation from Mississippi State University, he sought to broaden his knowledge and was hired by the Pizitz family of Birmingham to learn the clothing business. At an early age, he understood the value of becoming a self-employed operator, which enabled him to make all the decisions and serve the public in a more personal setting. In 1964, Alex and Bill Samuels, opened the Locker Room on the Strip in Tuscaloosa. The location was chosen because they noticed a void in the city for a quality traditional men’s clothier. After opening briefly in the 1400 block of University Boulevard, the store moved into the historic red wood farmhouse on the Strip, two blocks from campus, where it remained from 1965 – 2015. In 2015, it relocated to its current location on 2104 University Blvd at the corner of 21st Street.
Alex was twenty-three years old when he opened the Locker Room in Tuscaloosa. He hired University students as employees and 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. After several years, he determined to focus on the Tuscaloosa store, closed the other locations and sold his partner the Montgomery store on Carter Hill Road which still bears the Locker Room name.
Many Locker Room 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 appeal to the modern college student. 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.
Some years ago, Alex trademarked his green-eyed original elephantwear logo which has enjoyed a nation-wide popularity in football gameday 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 comprised of friendly, courteous, and helpful young men. Rush Crawford began his career as a freshman and continues as an asset since his graduation in his role as partner and operations manager. Alex’s son Mark Gatewood can be seen in the store and is an asset in sales. Tracy Gatewood is a retail real estate broker and with her brother, is a partner and officer in the corporation. Alex and all partners understand that pleasing the customer is a priority. Providing the best quality clothing and Locker Room legendary service will continue to make the Locker Room experience a success for 50+ years and beyond. We thank you for shopping the Locker Room and are grateful for each customer that walks through our doors.