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Bama’s success means sales for local stores

Call the store, and you’re greeted with, “Roll on down to Hibbett Sports to pick up your SEC gear,” making it unnecessary to even ask if they have available any merchandise commemorating Alabama’s latest historic football win.

Alabama defeated Florida, 32-13, in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game on Dec. 5, and Bama fans have flooded the loal retailer, buying up anything that says “SEC champions” on it.

“Within 15 minutes of the game, I had probably 50 people in here,” store manager Kellie Hall said. “It was like a party in the parking lot.”

The fervor isn’t likely to die down before Alabama’s match-up with Texas in the National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2010, in Pasadena, Calif.—and if the Crimson Tide wins, not soon thereafter.

“It’s really big,” Hall said. “Everybody’s excited about it. We still have people constantly coming in.”

Plenty of other local retailers take advantage of the passion of Alabama, and Auburn, fans but don’t specialize in offering commemorative items, such as T-shirts, hats and stickers.

Wright Drugs & Gift Shop, for example, sells more craft-type items.

“We’ve been selling Alabama stuff since the season started,” store manager Debbie Burch said.

The Sports Shop co-owner Hazel Cleckley said her store sees more sales leading up to games than immediately after.

“It seems like they bought everything before the game,” she said.

Hall said that on Dec. 4, the Friday before the SEC Championship Game, a box arrived that was not to be opened until after the game.

Inside were 36 SEC Championship T-shirts, and all but four were bought in less than four hours between the end of the game and the store’s closing at 10 p.m.

The store opened an hour early Sunday, at noon, and with a shipment of 120 more shirts to sell.

By Tuesday, the store was offering National Championship Game T-shirts, hats and jerseys.

Hall, an Auburn fan, admits it will good for business if Alabama were to win the national championship.

“Everybody said, whether you’re an Alabama fan or not, you’ll be for them in this game,” she said.