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Feeding the home dogs

Eagles spirit wear that community members had to choose from in the Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center before preparing for the Super Bowl (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).
Emily Graham
Written by Emily Graham

A victory for sports vendors in Philadelphia. 

In preparation for the Super Bowl, sports vendors from all over the country took advantage of the Philadelphia pride in the days leading up to the game.

Two vendors set up tents near the St. Joe’s campus in the Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center and at the Sunoco Gas Station on Lancaster Road. They sold a variety of Philadelphia Eagles products, including T-shirts, sweatshirts and dog masks.

Derek Allen, a vendor selling in Bala Cynwyd,  had his stand set up for a week, even staying open for 24 hours in the four days leading up to the Super Bowl.

“We would’ve been here a month earlier, but [Carson Wentz] had the injury,” Allen said. “We were packed up and ready to go on that game night. If we won, we were going. They won, but he was hurt, so we waited.”

These vendors travel the country and sell merchandise for every major sporting event, often producing the gear far in advance based on their predictions. Allen said he sets up his stands early so fans will know where to go when they are looking for apparel. He first went to Atlanta when he thought the Falcons would make it to the Super Bowl, but came to Philadelphia when the Falcons lost.

“My family has been doing this for four generations,” Allen said. “We have memorabilia dating back from the fifties.”

Greg Davis, another vendor, also relied on the Eagles to win not just for his business, but for his personal investment in the team. Davis is originally from Connecticut, but he is familiar with the Philadelphia area and has always been an Eagles fan.

“I travel from city to city servicing the fans,” Davis said. “This is what I do, but it’s twice as nice when you’re an Eagles fan, your team is in the Super Bowl and you get to travel to the city.”

Both vendors said business has been going well. Allen had to order more products as the gear sold out, with his most popular item being a T-shirt that said “time to feed the home dogs.”

Some St. Joe’s students took advantage of the vendors’ proximity to campus to buy their game day apparel.

Corinne McGrath ’18 had promised her roommates that she would buy them Eagles shirts if they made it to the Super Bowl, but struggled to find any on Thursday before the game.

“I tried going to Walmart and Target and they were totally sold out,” McGrath said. “But the [tent] in the ACME parking lot still had a bunch.”

McGrath bought each of her roommates a shirt, including some that said “beware of the underdogs.” She said they were more expensive than she expected, but were high quality.

Phil Dwyer ’21 and his friends went to several different stores on Sunday before he found a shirt at one of the tents.

“We were going to look for shirts,” Dwyer said. “We were already in Center City, so we went to a Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Ross. And they had nothing.”

Dwyer said they decided to try out some of the tents they had seen set up around the city and near campus, because those were the only places that seemed to have any gear left on the day of the game. Dwyer chose a tee shirt that said “Philly Philly.”

Dwyer said the vendor he spoke to was planning to stay open all day on Sunday, even after the game ended. The vendor was confident the Eagles would win, so he had shirts prepared.

“He said, ‘this shop is going to be open all night long,’” Dwyer said. “When they win the Super Bowl, these are the shirts to get. Come back any time all night.”

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Emily Graham

Emily Graham

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