Merchandise sales the capper to a Cup win
BY MIKE NOLAN firstname.lastname@example.org June 25, 2013 6:22PM
Customers at Dick's Sporting Goods in Tinley Park look over Stanley Cup championship merchandise on Tuesday. | Mike Nolan-Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 27, 2013 6:34AM
All Ernie Sepulveda wanted Tuesday was a cap.
He’d been camped out at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Tinley Park for better than two hours, hoping to snag one of the gray cloth caps recognizing the Blackhawks as Stanley Cup champs.
“They had a shipment come in this morning, but they were gone in like 5 or 10 minutes,” the Tinley Park man and lifelong Hawks fan said.
“I used to watch the games on TV back when they were in black and white,” he said.
Black and red were the colors of the day Tuesday, as retailers such as Dick’s laid out tables full of Cup-related merchandise. Actually, the chain’s stores around the Chicago area opened Monday night, not long after the Hawks’ improbable 3-2 victory over Boston.
The retailer had hedged its bets and, with the Hawks holding an edge in the series, had shirts, caps and other items pre-printed, assuming a Cup victory, Jeremiah Zimmer, a spokesman for the company, said.
All that stuff had been securely locked up, and stores closed briefly while employees put it out. Then the outlets reopened, he said.
Most stores following Monday night’s clincher had crowds in excess of 200 people lined up waiting to snap up Cup merchandise, Zimmer said.
The Tinley Park store remained open until after midnight and was deluged with customers upon reopening Tuesday morning, a store manager said. Most of the most sought-after items were quickly sold out.
Along with placing orders online, Kevin McMahon was at Dick’s twice Tuesday, hoping to pick up T-shirts that, on the back, had the team’s roster.
“I was here at 7 a.m.,” the Frankfort man said.
To be frank, he said he beefed a bit in an online customer survey Dick’s offered, upset that Cup merchandise advertised wasn’t available in plentiful supplies.
And that brings us back to Sepulveda’s search for a hat.
He and his sister watched the game at her house — she also lives in Tinley Park — then went to Dick’s afterward.
“They didn’t have any hats,” he said.
His sister asked if he’d return Tuesday to resume the quest and, based on the questions customers were peppering store employees with, it seemed as though everyone wanted a coveted cap.
A new shipment arrived in the afternoon — unfortunately it came about 10 minutes after Sepulveda had called it quits for the day and left the store.
Were the unthinkable to have happened — the Hawks ultimately faltering and the Cup ending up Wednesday in the hands of the Boston Bruins — the Blackhawks merchandise wouldn’t have been destined for a local landfill, Zimmer said. The items instead would have been donated to charity, he said.