The URI Rhody Ram made an appearance at the Warwick Mall JCPenney Sunday evening, but assistant store manager Joseph Iacobucci had difficulty fitting him with a suit. His feet were just too big to get on a pair of pants and, with those horns, there was no way Iacobucci would find him a hat.
However, more than 300 URI students, alumni and their families found some extraordinary bargains as the store hosted its second college suit up event of the year. A “suit up” was held two weeks ago for Rhode Island College students, alumni and their families. Designed to help students dress for success and jump-start their careers, those attending the two-hour sale were able to buy certain items at a discounted rate and get a second for one penny more. In addition, there was an extra 40 percent discount.
Partnering with the store, the URI career service center spread the word on the campus and was present to assist as students lined up at the store door at 6 p.m.
“It was so easy on our part,” said Doug Ouimette who coordinated things at the university. He said a “suit up” was held at JCPenney in the fall that 250 people attended.
“We’re hoping to break that number,” he said as the doors opened.
Iacobucci said the program is aimed at “connecting with young customers” in hopes they will make JCPenney part of their shopping experience.
As it turned out the store connected with some very young customers as well as those beyond their college years.
Warwick native Marc Bayha was there with his future family – he and Tanesha Wray will be married in the Dominican Republic in August – and they filled a cart with everything from baby clothes to a wedding tie.
URI marketing senior Jenna Carey was one of many students with plans to be outfitted for a future job. She was looking to buy a suit and shoes as she initiates a job search in Providence.
And it was affordable. Men could purchase a JF J. Ferrar suit jacket and pants, shirts, ties, belts and shoes for under $200. Women found a Worthington suit jacket, skirt, shirt and shoes for under $100.
Former URI President Robert Carothers and his wife, Jane Richmond, were in the first wave of shoppers. Carothers, who is executive vice president of College Unbound, lauded the partnership with JCPenney The two of them talked with students and then checked out the bargains.
Carlos Lopez Estrada, who served as chief of staff for Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, knew nothing of the URI event until he walked into the store. As a URI grad, he was welcome to join the shoppers. He was last seen trying on a suit ready for his new job working for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien.