College friends launch GOAT USA clothing line at Roosevelt Field mall
Three Long Island friends who met while playing high school sports have opened their own clothing store in Roosevelt Field mall, five years after their brand’s initial online- and events-only launch.
Dylan McLaughlin and Rich Alfaro, both from Carle Place, along with T.J. Cristina, from East Wiliston, debuted GOAT USA in October on the ground level of the mall, just outside of Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The brand is known for its namesake logo, a goat. "Chuck the goat," a solid-colored, Carolina-blue goat decked out with sunglasses and a crown is the original of now hundreds of variations of the symbol that appears on all of the store's merchandise — tops (T-shirts, sweatshirts, long sleeves and polos), bottoms (shorts, joggers, bathing suits, leggings and pajamas) and accessories (socks, canvases, drawstring bags, masks and hats) for the whole family.
The inspiration behind the brand first came in 2015 when McLaughlin was on the cusp of graduating from SUNY Cortland, where the trio attended college together. McLaughlin was given a custom beer T-shirt from a friend and began receiving a number of inquiries about it. "Every time I wore it, people asked about it," he says, "so I made more of the same style shirt."
After graduating, McLaughlin began peddling his own custom shirts and getting them in front of crowds at Jones Beach concerts with help from Alfaro and Cristina. "We got our first batch of T-shirts and thought ‘we aren’t tech people, so we have to get in front of a crowd and try to sell these shirts,’" McLaughlin recalls, adding he’s not into "Facebook ads or anything like that. We are more traditional."
By June 2016, GOAT USA was officially born; the guys debuted the brand at Mitchel Field in Uniondale. They set up shop in Alfaro’s grandfather’s basement in Floral Park where they continued to produce shirts, now with GOAT — greatest of all time — branding. Thus, "Chuck the goat" was born.
Within two years of its existence, the line grew exponentially, leading them to rent warehouse space and ultimately get picked up by Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide. To date, GOAT’s T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, socks and bucket hats have been top sellers, McLaughlin says.
Prices range from $25 for a T-shirt to $60 for a hooded sweatshirt. GOAT USA is open during mall hours (typically between 10 — 11 a.m. to 7 — 9 p.m.). Find it at 630 Old Country Rd. In Garden City. goatusa.com