Originally created 01/07/97

Panthers' goods also a smash



The Carolina Panthers' success is translating into financial victory with area merchants selling items with the team logo.

"We can't keep it in the store," said Sharon Novak, manager of Hibbett Sports in the Aiken Mall, on Monday. "They want that Carolina pride on them when they win."

Ms. Novak and other area retailers said they were bracing for an increase in Panthers-logo seekers after Sunday's playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys.

"It's been going like crazy," said D.J. Baskett, an employee at SMS Sportswear in North Augusta.

The whole month of December had been that way, with Panthers Starter jackets and pullovers in especially strong demand, he said.

At Hibbett Sports, Panthers jerseys, T-shirts, sweatshirts and caps were all sold out within three days, Ms. Novak said. Also, none of the Christmas returns at her store were Carolina Panthers items.

She was surprised to see the Panthers so successful because they're a new team, but added, the "Panthers boomed because of the winning season."

At Kmart on Silver Bluff Road, menswear manager Gladys Daniels said she hoped the store would start stocking more Panther items. On Monday, the store didn't have any Carolina Panthers sportswear in stock.

"Everyone has been asking for it," she said.