Mobile-headquartered Shoe Station is betting big on an Alabama win next week at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The local retailer has ordered over 2,500 T-shirts trumpeting a Crimson Tide triumph over Clemson in next Monday’s 2017 National College Football Playoff (CFP) championship game.
Per a news release, the Alabama-based chain is doubling down on a bet made – and won – last year. “While we are a fan of all SEC teams, due to our geographical locations, we cannot ignore the demand of Alabama fans when their team stands on the cusp of another championship. Just as last year, if Bama wins, 11 of our 19 stores will extend their hours to sell these limited-edition T-shirts,” Shoe Station president Brent Barkin said.
Store managers and many of Shoe Station’s 500-plus employees will be on stand-by listening to the game. If Alabama wins, they will re-open select store locations. “This becomes a social event at many Shoe Station locations, since we will have sent emails, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram mentions, Shoe Station App pushes, and texts to our database of over 200,000 customers.” Barkin said. “It’s become something of an after-party with all fans invited.”
The Champion T-shirt buy has become a Shoe Station tradition, but it is not only for Tide fans; Shoe Station employed the same post-game victory strategy for fans of LSU in January 2008, Auburn in 2011 and FSU in 2014.
If Alabama falls in this heavy-weight rematch against a very capable Tiger squad, plans are in place for all of the shirts to get boxed up and returned to vendors, with Shoe Station eating all of the associated costs. Additionally, vendors will likely donate all of the associated merchandise and/or recycle the materials.
“It’s close to a $10K bet [on an Alabama win] when you factor in shipping, labor and kill costs,” Barkin said. “As my father Terry Barkin, our founder was fond of saying, ‘you can’t take the risk out of business.’”
Locations staying open 30 minutes after the ESPN-televised game (or until the merchandise sells out) are: Opelika; Pensacola, FL; Hattiesburg and D’Iberville, MS. Shoe Station locations staying open one hour after a winning game are: Mobile (both locations), Spanish Fort, Foley, Dothan, East Chase and Prattville.