Super Bowl XXXVII
Get it while it's hot
From T-shirts to bobbleheads to expensive crystal, anything touting the Super Bowl win gets scooped up by Tampa Bay fans Monday.
By KRIS HUNDLEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 28, 2003
ST. PETERSBURG -- Dental hygienist Judy Morachnick left patients flossing while she raced up Fourth Street N on Monday morning to buy an official Bucs Super Bowl Championship T-shirt at BucsStuff.
A few hours later, between patients, she was back at the store, hoping to nab a $30 championship ball cap. But the hats, stitched in the wee morning hours at a Reebok factory in Massachusetts, were en route to St. Petersburg aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.
No problem. Morachnick would dash back when the caps arrived.
"The world is in such a disaster," she said. "This victory is nice to have."
Championship T-shirts showed up on the streets outside Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and online at sites like AOL.com immediately after the game.
By early Monday morning, coveted souvenirs like the gray T-shirts worn by Bucs players on the sidelines after Sunday's game were in specialty shops and mass merchandisers in the Tampa bay area.
The crowds started showing up about 6 a.m. at Buccaneer Heaven on N Florida Avenue in Tampa even though the store didn't open for another three hours. The store's initial supply of 750 T-shirts was gone by 10:15 a.m.
Matt Wheeler, a 25-year-old salesman, said he planned to buy visors, caps and shirts in pairs.
"I'm going to shrink wrap one and keep one," he says. "They're going to be worth some money soon."
At BucsStuff in St. Petersburg, a steady stream of early morning customers snapped up 800 locker room T-shirts in a couple of hours.
Chad Smallwood, a commercial painter in St. Petersburg, got two, then returned mid afternoon to wait in line with about two dozen people for a ball cap.
"People have already been offering me money for this shirt," said Smallwood, whose painting crew took the day off to celebrate the victory. "But I won't sell it for any amount of money."
At Sam's Club in Tampa, business manager Julie Misiura learned that moving a load of Bucs shirts to the front of the store was hazardous duty. Some 1,500 shirts, selling for just less than $8 each, disappeared in about 15 minutes, she said.
"It's almost like a football game. I got tackled," Misiura said. "We're having problems keeping up with demand."
With official merchandise going fast, customers stocked up on Bucs paraphernalia like car flags and novelty T-shirts that skirted licensing laws. Red T-shirts proclaiming "Chuckie Rules" and the Bucs as "2002 World Champions" were selling for $17.99 at BucsStuff.
Rob Wolfe, who worked for Cisco Systems before opening the store in June, was pushing a Jon Gruden bobblehead doll for $13. "I've got 500 of them," he groaned. "And now I've got the Super Bowl bobbleheads coming in."
Wolfe said he hit the phones to his suppliers immediately after the Super Bowl ended; midday Monday he still had a cell phone stuck to his ear, begging vendors to send him merchandise, stat.
"This is the butter," he said of the nonstop lines at the register. "I'm almost ready for it to settle back down."
Meanwhile, for Bucs fans with deeper pocketbooks or an appreciation of fine crystal, Burdines at WestShore Plaza in Tampa was taking orders for a limited edition of crystal footballs made by Waterford and engraved with the Tampa Bay Bucs flag. Price: $185.
Also on display at Burdines was a crystal football on a pedestal, made by Waterford's artisans in Ireland. It was topped by a hand-carved lid with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet. The trophy, valued at $30,000, will be donated to the city of Tampa.
Pete Cheyney, Waterford's director of corporate communications, was the guy responsible for bringing the trophy, which stands about 161/2 inches high and weighs 12 pounds, to Tampa Monday morning on a commercial flight.
"I wasn't nervous when they shipped it over from Ireland, but I wouldn't let it out of my sight this morning," he said. "I had a picture of it in my case, so I could show security at the airport. That was a lot better than cutting open the box."
Cheyney said an alternate trophy topper, engraved with an Oakland Raiders helmet, will end up on a mantel in the office of Waterford's senior vice president of sales.
"She gets all the losers," he said.
-- Times staff writers Louis Hau and Alicia Caldwell contributed to this report.
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