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Rags & Rebel Riches

Oxford’s Rebel Rags is synonymous with anything and everything Ole Miss
By Michael Harrelson, editor, HottyToddy.com
Any number of retail stores in Oxford, Mississippi, carry Ole Miss sports wear and merchandise. Yet none can claim the inventory found at Rebel Rags. The shop located on West Jackson Avenue doesn’t just carry Ole Miss-branded products. They are, as their slogan says, “Anything and Everything Ole Miss.”
As the largest retailer in the nation of Rebel merchandise, Rebel Rags’ inventory ––from hats, to T-shirts to tents, chairs, water coolers and much more –– exceeds 45,000 items on an every day basis, and reaches as high as 60,000 items during peak season.
“We are to Ole Miss merchandise what McDonald’s is to French fries,” says owner Terry Warren, a Water Valley native who opened the store six years ago. “If they make it, and we can get it, we carry it.”
Altogether, Ole Miss products manufactured by 410 separate vendors can be found at Rebel Rags, Warren says, including goods made by national and international brands such as Under Armour, Nike, Columbia, Gear, Champion, Russell and others.
A diehard Rebel fan from his youth, Warren says he had no idea of the success his business was destined for when he first started.
“I was sitting in a bar with Dr. Ron Borne, and we were trying to come up with a marketing name for towels,” Warren remembers. “At the time, the “Terrible Towel” was popular with Pittsburgh fans, and the name we came up with was “Rebel Rags.”
Later, Warren says he decided to use the name to brand the whole store, and today, with more than a million dollars worth of inventory in stock and fame that has spread well beyond Oxford and Mississippi, he’s glad that he did.
“The name has been very catchy, and it has become entrenched in the minds of the public,” he says.
Wherever Warren or his daughter and store manager Ashley Grantham travel these days, the Rebel Rags merchandise they wear draw comments from the people they meet.
“I was in Gainesville with my son in law. He was headed for Kuwait, and a man walked up to him and said, ‘Hotty Toddy.’ Warren said that when they told him they were from Rebel Rags, he repeated the store slogan verbatim back to them.
In addition to in-store traffic and the orders he receives online via the store’s rebelrags.net and hottytoddyrebels.com Web sites, Warren now gets special requests for Ole Miss merchandise from Rebel fans throughout the world.
“A soldier located in Iraq emailed us. He flew an Apache helicopter, and he wanted a flag to fly on the helicopter. When we sent him the flag, he send us back a commemorative coin to say thank you.”
Another commemorative coin given to him later became the design idea behind T-shirts in camouflage colors that then Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt took with him on a goodwill tour overseas.
“We sent 2,000 of the T-shirts with him to give away to troops,” Warren says, adding that Rebel Rags also gave the T-Shirts to members of the local National Guard unit prior to their deployment.
Although Warren says Ole Miss Rebel hats and other gear can be found in myriad locations throughout the state, he adds that a purchase made at Rebel Rags comes with an assurance.
“When you are dealing with Rebel Rags, you know you are dealing with Ole Miss fans, and that your money is staying in the Rebel family.

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