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July 9, 2006

Warhawk gear sales flying high

Two weeks after the Warhawks landed at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, mascot-related merchandise continues to fly off the shelves.

Amid good feelings on campus, ULM unveiled the new mascot June 26, replacing the Indian mascot that had represented the school's athletic teams for 75 years.

ULM's leaders were obviously pleased with the reception fans gave the new mascot that day, but merchandisers were clearly surprised by the enormous appeal of caps, T-shirts, golf shirts and other items that bear the logo or name. At a public event on campus to unveil the logo, some $3,000 in merchandise sold in an hour at a temporary sales stand. Kelsey Bagwell, manager at University Bookstore, said Friday that sales have remained brisk for Warhawk clothing, even though students won't arrive until this week for the next summer session.

"T-shirts are flying out of here," he said, adding that polo shirts have sold out.

Usually, Bagwell said, it takes some three to four weeks for stores to stock up on such new products, but the demand has continued

unabated since the Warhawk logo was revealed.

Mark Elliott Jr., president of Identity One to One, said the Monroe company's online sales of Warhawk gear have also been brisk.

Identity One to One, which partners with companies and institutions to build brand recognition, primarily sells wholesale. It is licensed to reproduce all of the Warhawk logo merchandise. But the online demand for Warhawk gear has kept Identity One to One staff busy.

"And tons of people have been walking in" to the store, located at 2814 DeSoto St., Monroe, said creative director Melissa Johnston at Identity One to One.

In addition to the current Warhawk merchandise offerings, the Web site will offer children's Warhawk gear, coffee mugs, blankets, picnic chairs and more.

Merchandisers anticipate additional demand first as summer students return this week for the last summer session and then as summer fades and the ULM football season approaches.

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