A Store Divided


It all began with two Genesee County natives – Dave Broadworth of Swartz Creek and Dave Byl of Flint. They both loved watching sports and tailgating, especially at U of M and MSU games. Back in 1985, they conceived an idea to capitalize on the great rivalry between the Spartans and the Wolverines: Why not open a retail store and sell merchandise from the rivaling schools? The rest, as they say, is history!

The Great Divide, a Flint store that sells only Michigan State University and University of Michigan merchandise, has been a staple for collegiate fans from all over. “It turned out to be a great idea!” exclaimed Store Manager, Brian Crawford. And the store’s name defines the venture perfectly – a line divides the store into halves, one devoted to Michigan State and the other to Michigan.

The variety is endless at the Great Divide, especially for football fans, according to Brian. And there is something for everyone – from infants to seasoned alumni. The two Daves have turned the running of the store over to Brian, who has been manager for the last three years. And it’s a job he loves. “It’s like they say, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” he smiled. While he attends U of M-Flint, there’s a place in his heart for its rival, as well. “I love State, too!” Brian says. In order to keep balance in the store, all of the staff will wear Michigan gear one day, but on the very next day, it’s all about the Spartans.

The Great Divide has occupied its current location at the corner of Ballenger and Miller Roads for 21 years. In addition to myriad styles and types of apparel and gear, the store has a huge variety of products, including tailgating and party supplies, music and books, BBQ items, flags and banners, games and home décor. “We have everything you need to deck out your man cave,” boasts Brian. “Anything you need to tailgate in style can be
found at The Great Divide.” Brian is excited about some new merchandise that just arrived, including some bling T-shirts for women decorated with rhinestones, sequins and glitter. Also new are cute, mini varsity great-divide-call-outjackets for toddlers. “Those varsity jackets will sell very well, as people like their kids to show their spirit, too,” Brian laughed.

September begins the busiest time of year for The Great Divide, with the start of school and football seasons. “We have something to make anyone stand out on Game Day,” says Brian. And of course, the busiest week is right before the Michigan vs. Michigan State game when it’s determined who will own bragging rights for the year. “Nothing tops that,” Brian said, “and here, we don’t have to choose sides!”

The owners of The Great Divide have been proud to serve the Flint area for almost 30 years. They support many charitable organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint, and U of M and MSU Alumni groups. “Flint has given so much to this store,” says Brian.

So, choose your side … and gear up for fun at The Great Divide! ♦

Photography by Mike Naddeo


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