Exuberant Clemson fans have stormed sporting goods stores around the state for three days now, buying up virtually any Tigers-themed merchandise in sight.
It’s a frenzy shopkeepers don’t expect to end soon.
“We had people waiting at the stores (Tuesday) for merchandise as soon as we opened,” said Phillip Graham, a Jewelry Warehouse supervisor at the Lexington location, which features the Tiger Paw Traditions store. “As far as sales go, it’s been absolutely exceptional.”
Because the championship game concluded so late Monday night, merchandise arrivals at some smaller retailers were a little delayed, Graham said, but only for an hour or two. “As soon as we started opening up boxes, people were essentially grabbing for every single item we could get.”
Both Columbia-area Jewelry Warehouse stores are “fully-packed and ready to go,” Graham said Wednesday, and more merchandise is coming in every day.
In Spartanburg, Lois Ann Wright, a Clemson fan dressed in a bright orange sweatshirt, searched through piles and racks of T-shirts Tuesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Wright said she had stopped by a few other stores before finding what she was looking for — Clemson championship merchandise.
“Both of my girls are Clemson graduates and my husband wants a shirt for bragging rights,” she said. “We bleed orange now.”
Dick’s was one of several sporting goods stores across Spartanburg that saw Clemson merchandise fly off shelves early Tuesday after the Tigers’ victory over Alabama in the championship game in Tampa.
“We were packed full of Clemson fans and it was a really fun time,” said Erin Hansen, Dick’s community marketing manager. “Clemson fans are having a blast ... they were chanting the Clemson song.”
Sporting goods stores in Florence also tried their best to keep shelves stocked with Tiger gear. Some stores received shipments of shirts, flags and other purple and orange paraphernalia prior to the final snap of the championship game.
Academy Sports in Florence opened earlier than usual Tuesday to keep up with the demand for national championship gear. Manager William Lowery said the store had hardly any items left in the store on Tuesday but encouraged Tigers fans to go on the Academy Sports website and purchase items there.
Pam Graham, a diehard Clemson fan, bought a shirt for herself and her husband, who both watched the nail-biting game Monday night. Graham said this championship has been a long time coming for both her and the Clemson football program, and she doesn’t intend to let it go to waste.
“Their last championship was before me and my husband was born,” Graham said. “This doesn’t happen very often. We may never see this again. That’s why you’ve got to celebrate while you can.”
The Morning News and scnow.com of Florence as well as the Herald-Journal and goupstate.com of Spartanburg contributed.