The Kentucky Shop is a specialty retail store in Florence Kentucky dedicated to products featuring the marks of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. The Kentucky Shop is Northern Kentucky’s home for the best selection of Kentucky Wildcats products around.
In the 1990's, local sports artist Jim Ransdell operated a business at the Florence Mall with his father-in-law Bill Sharp that was dedicated to selling all University of Kentucky products. Touchdown Sportswear was a well known fixture in Florence and was a place where Wildcats fans could come to be a part of the UK family and to enjoy friendly conversation about their passion, UK basketball. The store was well known for bringing former UK players to the Mall to meet the fans in Northern Kentucky. The store left the Florence Mall in 1997. Touchdown Sportswear served Northern Kentucky during the 1990's and the Rick Pitino era at Kentucky.
After a decade or so doing other sports and University of Kentucky related projects, Jim Ransdell felt it was time to bring back this classic Kentucky Wildcats store to Florence. In 2010, "The Kentucky Shop" opened in the Florence Center, just off of Mall Road in Florence at 8113 Connector Drive. The name "The Kentucky Shop" is a tribute to the old Touchdown Sportswear. "Our name was always confusing back in the 1990's. We were a franchise of a company called Touchdown Sportswear but were known for supporting UK basketball. Almost everyone who visited the store just called us "the Kentucky Shop", so I thought it would be appropriate to name the new Touchdown Sportswear, The Kentucky Shop", says owner Jim Ransdell.
The store strives to have anything and everything related to the University of Kentucky on its shelves. It is also a place for local Wildcat fans to gather again and be a part of the family, just like back in the old days. "We want The Kentucky Shop to have the same friendly feel we had before. It is a place that UK fans can visit to talk about their favorite team and share stories about what is going on in the Wildcat Nation. We want everyone to feel the UK experience and the friendly conversation, and as a result, they may buy some of the great UK products on the shelves."
When you enter the store, you will be immediately greeted by some familiar Rupp Arena imagery and will have no doubt what the store is all about. The front counter features the store's mission statement, "Celebrating the Greatest Tradition in College Basketball and Serving the Greatest Fans in all of Sports". You will also find some of the University of Kentucky art that Jim has created over the years on display and for sale. The Kentucky Shop is also dedicated to bringing the UK basketball program to Northern Kentucky fans. There will be many player appearances and UK events planned as the store grows. "It is our goal to bring the UK experience to Northern Kentucky and to give the fans up here a real sense of connection to UK basketball." The store will also have many exclusive t-shirt designs that will not be available anywhere else featuring Ransdell's original designs.
The Kentucky Shop relocated its original Florence location from Mall Road to a brand new facility at 6805 Houston Road, next to Drake's and Firehouse Subs. The new Florence location is much bigger and offers fans an even bigger and better UK experience!
About Jim Ransdell:
Jim has been a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats basketball program since he was a child in the 1970's playing on his Nerf basketball hoop in his basement listening to the smooth voice of Cawood Ledford call the game on the radio.
In addition to being a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats, Jim has spent a good part of his life working with Kentucky related products and events. In 1984, Jim got his start working closely with the UK basketball program when he was picked to assist a local promoter and UK gift shop owner in setting up an event to celebrate the career of former UK guard Dicky Beal. The event, held in Covington Kentucky, brought the senior class of the 1983-84 UK team together for an exhibition game to honor Beal at his high school alma mater.
Jim took those experiences and in the late 1980's and into the 1990's, he opened and operated his family-owned Kentucky Wildcats gift shop in the Florence Mall in Northern Kentucky called Touchdown Sportswear (I know, funny name for a place that focused on UK basketball). The store was a well known local hangout for UK fans in Northern Kentucky and provided those fans with a place to go to buy UK related merchandise to show their love of the Wildcats. Touchdown Sportswear became a popular place for fans to gather to talk about UK sports and to share stories about their favorite basketball team.
During that time, Jim put his skills as a graphic designer to good use by creating exclusive UK apparel designs that were sold at the stores and by creating art prints for former UK players. Jim was also directly involved with planning and executing player appearance events in Northern Kentucky. Some of the players that Jim worked with were Travis Ford, Kenny Walker, Rex Chapman, Richie Farmer and was even involved in having Rick Pitino visit the Florence Mall to do his radio show each year. Through relationships made during that time, Jim has continued to be involved in designing UK products and working closely with former UK stars.
In 2005, the University of Kentucky held the first official Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Lexington. The University of Kentucky Athletics Department officially inducted its inaugural class of Hall of Famers, which consisted of the 88 players and personalities who had their numbers retired in the past. This ceremony brought together a once in a lifetime who's-who of Kentucky sports history. Jim had the honor of creating the official commemorative poster for the event that was given to each attendee that night.
After this event, Jim also created several individual player prints for the UK Hall of Fame. One of these prints commemorated the "Unforgettables", John Pelphrey, Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus and Sean Woods. This unique art print was well received and was selected by the Maker's Mark company to be featured on the label of their special Keeneland "Unforgettables" bottle in 2007.
In 2010, the popularity surrounding new head coach John Calipari finally lured Jim back into the UK retail business. Jim opened The Kentucky Shop in Florence in April of 2010.
The Kentucky Shop
6805 Houston Road Suite 500
Florence, KY 41042