In 2017, WT Business alum, Landon Ware, opened Sacred Maroon in The Shops on Fifth Avenue on the downtown square in Canyon. Sacred Maroon is a WT Spirit Shop offering apparel and gifts such as shirts, pullovers, jackets, hats, blankets, coasters, and decals.
Having attended WT in the late 2000s, Landon felt that there was a lack of choices for apparel that had modern designs using quality materials.
“I wanted to bring a (Division I) feel to Canyon. I loved going to WT, I love the sports programs and there wasn’t a ton of availability and options out there, so we wanted to give them (fans) tons of options to choose from.”– Landon Ware
Sacred Maroon is also an official ticket partner of West Texas A&M University Athletics which allows fans to purchase general admissions tickets to all WT athletic events at the store.
Q&A with Landon Ware
What degrees do you have from WT?
BBA in Finance – May 2010
Who were some faculty that influenced you during you time in the College of Business? Why?
Dr. James Owens was very influential, he always had interesting stories about Corporate Finance that resonated with me on an ethical level. He was very knowledgeable in the arena of practice what you preach, if you are a good person at heart than you are going to set good business principles. Another would be Dr. Anne Macy, who I would consider my favorite professor while attending WT. I am a person that doesn’t shy away from being direct with people, and that is how she always taught, she wasn’t afraid to tell you exactly what she thought. I learned that to run a successful business you have to be willing to tell people things they don’t want to hear. Those things may hurt them, but it will better them in the long run; and in turn it helps your business become more successful.
Memories from WT?
Unfortunately, in my case I didn’t have as many memories with WT as I would have liked. While attending WT I was extremely motivated to get into business and I started my first business with my family, known as Blue Bison Investments. During most of my time with WT I was working to remodel houses in Canyon and working full time at Pizza Hut in Canyon. It was a long few years, but it has paid off tremendously in the end. I now have 5 businesses that are all doing very well. Blue Bison has continued to make improvements to Canyon through the revitalization of the Downtown Square including the Original Bellah Grocery Store, Johnston’s Hardware, and the Shops on Fifth Avenue.
Tell us about Sacred Maroon.
Sacred Maroon was born from a spin off of another one of my companies, Local Legend Outfitters, in Amarillo. At Local Legend, we provide top quality screen printing, embroidery and vinyl graphics. I always knew that I would come back to Canyon with an operating business, but I needed to set my groundwork first. The idea for Sacred Maroon came to me 2 days before I graduated in May of 2010. I had gone into the bookstore to pick up my graduation gown and decided to browse their apparel section. Over the course of my time at WT, my visits were limited to heading downstairs to get my books, or grabbing a couple of Scantrons and heading to class. I didn’t spend much money on clothes during that time as I was constantly saving to get ready for my next venture, what ever it might be. As I browsed, I realized that I was seeing very similar items to what was available when I had first visited the bookstore nearly four years prior. It didn’t seem to me at the time that the bookstore didn’t care, but that they just weren’t as focused on the improvement of designs and quality of their goods. I believe that with the competition from Sacred Maroon, the bookstore has realized the benefit of continuous evolution. As I was once told, “If you aren’t innovating, you’re losing.”
How has your business degree helped you with your business so far?
When I was at WT the main focus for the business college was on Corporate business. That is fine for most of your general population of students, but since the 6th grade I have dreamt of being an entrepreneur and my work ethic was going to help me achieve that dream. The things that I say benefited me the most while attending WT were the real life lessons that each professor shared during their course. Stories of ethical and unethical practices, successes and failures, and the growth of their own personal education resonated with me more than the writing in our textbooks. Did I learn from our textbooks? Of course, but most of what I learned from books seemed to be about equations I needed to understand the metrics given. Business is more than just numbers, it’s a combination of your heart and your mind. Stories of people’s experiences, including our own trials, teach so much more. Learn from your failures, learn from your successes, both will increase your legacy equally.
What is something you wished you knew as a college student?
The thing that I wish I had known as a college student was to slow down just a little. Enjoying what you do as a career is very satisfying, but waking up years after graduating college and realizing that you worked most of those days away can be regretful. Study your craft to the fullest extent possible, but make time for friends and family more than you do currently. It’s a challenging balance to understand the value of personal time versus professional time and we too easily throw away personal time for professional growth.
Words of advice to current students?
Money and people will come and go, but time is the only asset we can never replenish.
Due to COVID-19 and the recent shelter-in-place order from the City of Canyon, Sacred Maroon has temporarily shut down their brick and mortar location. However, at this time, they plan to continue to fulfill all of their online orders at sacredmaroon.com.