ANDERSON, Ind. —
The NFL is big business these days.
And for local retailers that geared up for the Indianapolis Colts’ training camp this year, it's been a big boon to their cash registers. After all, those virtual seas of blue Colts jerseys and caps have to come from somewhere.
Squeeze Play, a store that sells sports apparel and memorabilia, has been one of the biggest local beneficiaries of the influx of Colts fans into Anderson. Owner Jeremy Parker estimates his business sees a 30 percent increase when the Colts are in town.
“We definitely have had an increase in foot traffic,” Parker said. “It’s not been quite as big as last year, but we’re still way up.”
Parker’s business has been profitable enough to warrant expansion of the small chain. This year, Squeeze Play added a location at University Plaza near the training camp site at Anderson University to take advantage of new customers. Parker said locations in Muncie and Noblesville are seeing sizable increase in business as well.
“The start of the NFL season is always good for business,” he said. “We always do well with Colts stuff, and what we’re seeing now is a lot of people from out of town who remember coming in last year. We’re doing a lot more business online, too.”
This year, Squeeze Play has capitalized on the popularity of Colts punter Pat McAfee, whose now-infamous drunken swim in the Broad Ripple canal last year garnered national headlines. McAfee has since become one of the Colts’ more well-known players, and shirts bearing his likeness and the motto “I swam with Pat McAfee” have been strong sellers.
“Pat’s dad got those shirts out there. People seem to like them a lot,” Parker said.
Other popular merchandise includes jewelry and women’s clothing, an ever-growing sector of NFL apparel sales. KT Pawn owner Ken Kocinski estimates that 60 percent of all the NFL merchandise he sells is geared toward women.
KT Pawn prepared for training camp by putting out a large amount of Colts-related apparel in the parking lot of its store on Scatterfield Road. Kocinski also owns KT Sports store in the Castleton Square Mall, and the success he’s had this year has convinced him to expand as much as possible.
Kocinski said he is going to establish a permanent selection of NFL merchandise at KT Pawn and believes it will do well enough to keep going.
“It’s not just Colts stuff,” he said. “Steelers stuff sells more than just about everybody else.”
KT Pawn has seen business from customers as far away as Florida and Washington state during training camp this year. His establishment, he believes, has its own niche in the NFL economy. Kocinski has a long-range goal to hold a business presence in “every major city in Indiana,” he said.
“A lot of people don’t have the discretionary income,” he said. “We’re selling stuff a lot cheaper than everybody else. We get things on closeout. ... For example, we’ve sold as many Colts winter coats as we have jerseys this year. You can buy this kind of stuff lots of places, but when it comes down to dollars and cents, we can beat pretty much anybody out there.”
Part of the reason he believes business has been so good for KT Pawn is that the Colts apparel draws in shoppers who then purchase other merchandise.
“Lots of people are coming in and telling us they don’t have places like this in their hometowns,” he said. “We’re doing really well and we’re making lots of great deals.”
Contact Michael D. Doyle: 640-4805, email@example.com
Stores report success selling Colts, NFL gear
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The NFL is big business these days.
- Colts Camp
‘Blue Review’ debuts from Hoosier Park
Colts linebacker Philip Wheeler was back in Anderson on Tuesday for the first time since training camp closed on Aug. 18.
And he said the team is looking forward to Sunday’s home opener against Cleveland, coming on the heels of a 34-7 loss in Houston.
Colts break camp
As the team broke ranks and prepared to return to Indianapolis for today’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins, there was still no word on when Peyton Manning will make his season debut.
Stay at AU brings ‘brothers’ together
For punter Pat McAfee there was just one little thing missing from Indianapolis Colts Training Camp this year.
“My bed, not even a question. I love my bed. I enjoy Anderson University, obviously, but I’ve taken time on my bed to make it perfect for me and that’s what I’m excited to get back to,” McAfee said after the Colts’ final practice at AU on Thursday. “If I could have brought it here, which is what I should’ve done and what some vets do, it would have been a perfect experience.”
Detienne sends team back to Indianapolis
A face familiar to Anderson football fans joined the Indianapolis Colts final huddle Thursday morning at Macholtz Stadium.
Kerry Detienne, who was diagnosed with leukemia as a Highland senior in 2008, broke down the huddle and helped send the team on its way back home to Indianapolis.
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Brayton hits ground running with Colts
Defensive lineman Tyler Brayton got something of a rough introduction to the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday night.
Colts wrap up training camp
The Indianapolis Colts broke training camp Thursday with a 75-minute practice at Macholtz Stadium.
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One of the more interesting developments from Tuesday night’s practice was a shifting of positions along the offensive line.
Rookie Anthony Castonzo and second-year player Joe Reitz were to the left of center Jeff Saturday, while Jeff Linkenbach was at right tackle with Ryan Diem at right guard.
The biggest shock was Diem’s move from tackle to guard — a position he hasn’t played in nine years.
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If you’re heading out to the final Indianapolis Colts practice and it isn’t your first visit this year, be prepared for a bit of culture shock.
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