Blackhawks merchandise a hot commodity at local sports stores

2013-06-19T13:08:00Z 2013-06-20T00:20:08Z Blackhawks merchandise a hot commodity at local sports storesLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
June 19, 2013 1:08 pm  • 

Chicago Blackhawks fever continues to rage at local sporting goods stores where team merchandise from T-shirts and jerseys to signs and flags is “flying off the shelves,” according to one retailer.

“Before the Hawks even got to the finals, we were sold out. We had a lot of novelty items but not the clothing,” said Karen Peretin, sales associate at Varsity Sports in Griffith.

Customers cleared the store’s shelves of signs, plaques, stickers, small flags for cars and the large outdoor flags displayed outside homes, she said.

Whether Varsity Sports will get any more Hawks merchandise depends on the results of the next few games of the Stanley Cup Finals, Peretin said.

“Wait until the Hawks win,” she said.

Sales of Blackhawks jerseys have been brisk at Magic Sports in Valparaiso, with the most purchases occurring immediately after the Hawks defeated the Boston Bruins in triple overtime in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals, said Rachel Brown, sales associate.

“There’s definitely a demand. They go pretty quickly,” she said of the jerseys that sell for $149.99.

Customers of all ages are buying up the medium to XXL adult-sized jerseys, Brown said.

“We’ve had parents coming in to buy Hawks jerseys for their kids, but we don’t carry children’s sizes,” she said.

Rick Zuniga, store manager of Clark Street Sports in Westfield Southlake mall, said sales have gone up 50 percent since the Chicago hockey team began winning in the postseason.

The official Blackhawks T-shirts “have been flying off the shelves” since the team took the Western Conference title, he said.

When the Hawks entered the 2013 playoffs against Boston, Zuniga said Clark Street Sports began dramatically increasing shipments of Hawks wearable merchandise to its 18 Chicagoland stores.

“We used to receive inventory every other day. Now we’re getting inventory (of Hawks T-shirts) once or twice a day,” he said. “As soon as we get it, it’s put out on the shelves.”

People of all ages and demographics are buying the merchandise, Zuniga said. “Everybody is jumping in.”

No matter how much merchandise is sold now, however, the buying frenzy will only heat up if the Hawks bring home the Stanley Cup again, he said.

“We’ll be ready,” Zuniga said.

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