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Roots Extends Deal to Outfit U.S. Olympians

NEW YORK — Michael Budman and Don Green are really from Detroit.<br><br>So it’s not an issue of patriotism that Roots, the Canadian specialty store chain the pair founded in 1973, has extended its agreement to be the official outfitter of...

NEW YORK — Michael Budman and Don Green are really from Detroit.

So it’s not an issue of patriotism that Roots, the Canadian specialty store chain the pair founded in 1973, has extended its agreement to be the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic team through 2008.

Budman, flanked by Jim Grice, chief of sales and marketing for the USOC, and several Olympic athletes, also took the opportunity to show off the new Roots boutique inside the NBC Experience Store in Rockefeller Center. Joining them was Dan Aykroyd, a friend of Budman’s who was in town rehearsing for his return to “Saturday Night Live,” which he hosted last weekend.

“Our mantra at Roots has always been: ‘It’s all about the athletes,’” Budman said. The firm will provide the parade uniform for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as casualwear for the 2004 Athens Games, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Roots was the official outfitter of the team in 2002 in Salt Lake City, and its Team USA beret was so popular that more than 1 million pieces have been sold to date.

The apparel also will be sold at Roots stores, which include units in the U.S. in Birmingham, Mich.; Park City, Utah; Beverly Hills; Aspen, Colo., and Salt Lake City.

Overall, the privately owned Roots operates more than 200 stores worldwide — 140 in Canada, 68 in Korea and 12 in Taiwan. The merchandise is also carried in 54 Saks Inc. department stores, as well as in some Federated Department Stores units. The Toronto-based retailer is projected to have sales this year between $200 million and $250 million.

Marshall Myles, president and chief executive of Roots Canada Ltd., further revealed that beginning this fall, Roots will be going into 100 Dillard’s stores, and will be selling in Marshall Field’s.

Myles said there’s no big rollout planned for company-owned specialty stores in the U.S., but Roots will continue to open stores in this country as opportunities arise.