Ari scores with footie fans

lifestyle March 24, 2013 00:00

By Veena Thoopkrajae
The Nation

5,403 Viewed

The 'studs' are the standout even with every soccer item imaginable on offer

Soccer fans browsing through the four-storey Ari Football Concept Store at Siam Square are the proverbial kids in a candy store. It’s Mecca for devotees of the beautiful game, an asylum for the football crazies. 

Owner-manager Siwat “Ekk” Vasantasingh (yes, he’s football-mad too) has everything there could possibly be, including the latest Adidas, Nike, Mizuno, Puma and Umbro gear and genuine home and away jerseys from England’s Premier League, Spain’s Laliga and all the rest. 
The main attraction, though, is the “studs”, as Thais call football shoes.
“Ninety per cent of our sales are in studs,” says Ekk. “Some customers own 10 pairs, but they’re always ready to buy more – they’re attracted to new designs or a particular brand endorsed by a famous player. It’s just like women buying handbags.”
On top of that, Ari will “personalise” your studs, the same way the heroes of the pitch make their shoes stand out. “It’s a dream come true for youngsters – I know because I was one of them!” says Ekk. “We’d see the stars with personalised studs. Now we can do it too.”
Shop staff will embroider your name on the shoes or any symbolic letters you want. It’s free for shoes purchased at Ari and Bt500 for any others. While your studs are being adorned, you can take a seat on a comfy sofa in the waiting area and watch a match on TV.
They’ll silkscreen your name or favourite number on any jersey too for Bt1,000. (The jerseys themselves cost a few thousand – an Adidas Chelsea shirt, for example, costs Bt4,790.)
New arrivals include the recently unveiled Adizoro F50 Messi shoes, Bt8,190 a pair, and the new season of Thai Premier League jerseys, increasingly popular with the fans. 
Ekk has deliberately arranged the store to encourage shoppers to dawdle. As a fan, he knows customers can spend hours there, and it’s fine with him if they loiter among the gloves and socks.
Adding to the “player’s lounge” feel is the waiting area on the third floor with its big couches and a TV screen that’s almost as big. Up on the fourth floor are a generous few metres of artificial turf where you can try out your new studs attempting to score a goal.
Until April 2, an “end of season” sale offers discounts of 30 to 70 per cent.
<< The Ari Football Concept Store in Siam Square Soi 6 is open daily from 12.30 to 8pm. Call (02) 250 6969 or (02) 392 2632.
<< There’s another branch at Arena 10 on Thonglor Soi 10.
<< Find out more on the “arifootball” Facebook page.