Fans celebrate by spending

Published 11:21 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Audrea Moore shops for Auburn Tigers paraphernalia on Wednesday at Hibbett Sports in Clanton.

More orange and blue can be seen riding down Highway 31 compared to a week before Auburn University became the Southeastern Conference champs and before the 2010 Iron Bowl game.

Auburn-related merchandise is flying off of the racks and shelves, increasing sales for local retailers.

Hibbett Sports on Highway 31 has been selling $15,000 to $20,000 or more each week compared to last year, said assistant store manager Jalisa Thomas.
“It’s about a 30 to 40 percent increase to what it was because Alabama was up last year,” said Thomas. “Now that Auburn has won the SEC, the sales have really kicked off.”

The Tigers’ triumph over South Carolina, 56-17, in the SEC game on Dec. 4, ignited the rise of sales of the collegiate paraphernalia.

“We had a pretty steady flow of customers before the game,” said Thomas. “A lot of purchases were made from when we opened at 8 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m., before the game started.”

Before, during and after the SEC game, numerous fans purchased No. 2 Cameron Newton jerseys, but now SEC memorabilia and pre-game national championship shirts are being purchased the most, said Thomas.

Hibbett did not receive SEC Championship shirts until the day after the game. More customers called to see if the shirts were available than coming in Saturday after the game.

“We had a sign up displaying when we would get the shirts in, and by the time we received the shirts and hats, we were slammed with customers,” said Thomas.

The SEC hats sold out the same day, but they plan to get more in.

“The Clanton location has more Auburn fans, so it’s really good for us because people do not just buy one shirt, they purchase shirts, hats and car tags,” said Thomas. “Them winning has helped us out a lot.”

The Sports Shop on Third Avenue has also seen an increase in sales this year because of the Tigers’ undefeated record.

“We do not have championship shirts, but our Auburn sales have been increasing all season and has probably doubled,” said Hazel Cleckley, co-owner of The Sports Shop.

“I’m an Alabama fan, but I will give Auburn their year,” said Thomas. “I’ll let them have it because it is good for the state and sales.”

Sales aren’t expected to decrease any time soon before Auburn’s match-up with Oregon in Glendale, Ariz., for the BCS National Championship on Jan. 11, 2011.