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As Kansas City prepares for the Super Bowl, it's showtime for Charlie Hustle

A man stands between tall shelves of T shirts in a warehouse stock room.
Taylor Wilmore
Startland News
A member of the Charlie Hustle team scans the Kansas City apparel brand's stock room for an item bound for an online order

By Tuesday, Kansas City-based Charlie Hustle was already selling out of its Super Bowl-themed shirts. Even though it'll be the Chiefs' fourth Super Bowl in five years, fans are still rushing to buy new merch.

It's the fourth time in five years that the Chiefs are heading to the Super Bowl, but fans are snatching up merch as if its never happened before.

“These aren’t even winning-the-Super Bowl shirts,” said Jordan Betts, communications manager for Kansas City-based Charlie Hustle, referencing the apparel brand’s newly debuted “Showtime in Vegas” tee. “But fans are wanting this design like we already won the Super Bowl. That’s the kind of numbers we’re doing, which is madness to me.”

The Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, setting the stage for the Feb. 11 Super Bowl rematch against the San Francisco 49ers. But by Tuesday afternoon, the “Showtime in Vegas” T-shirt was already sold out online, Betts said.

Next comes the shipping rush, she added, noting it was all hands on deck Tuesday at Charlie Hustle’s headquarters to get orders out as quickly as possible.

“Our COO, our head of licensing, our head of finance, everyone is folding shirts right now to be shipped off for online packaging,” Betts explained. “So it’s a whole team effort. It’s absolutely madness. We have hundreds and hundreds of orders that we have to go through.”

A folded tee shirt with images of a red football helmet and palm trees with lettering “Showtime in Vegas," 2023 and a pair of dice
Taylor Wilmore
Startland News
Charlie Hustle’s “Showtime in Vegas” tee awaits folding for an online order

“Not only did we do these new shirts, we also had the (Travis Kelce-inspired and now sold-out) KC Heart Hands shirts from last week and we had a ginormous sale Monday and Tuesday,” she said.

A limited quantity of the “Showtime in Vegas” tees were available Tuesday at Charlie Hustle’s storefront on the Country Club Plaza. Long-sleeved, crewneck and youth versions are still in stock online — for now.

Betts also teased the possibility of another design before the Super Bowl.

The “Showtime in Vegas” piece was in the works for weeks before Sunday’s Chiefs victory, she acknowledged.

“The second they won, it was on our website,” Betts said. “Then we called our printers, ‘Hey, start printing this ASAP. We actually drove to Lawrence — where our printers are — Monday just to pick up the first few boxes, so we could send out the first few hundred. People are loving our Vegas shirts so much.”

Charlie Hustle isn’t alone among brands that pounced on the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run as an opportunity to tap into fans’ appetite for fresh gear. Brands from across the metro went live early this week with apparel and other products featuring everything from nods to the iconic Las Vegas sign to the Chiefs new role as villains to Taylor Swift’s first Super Bowl.

A tired shelf in a store shows Kansas City-themed T-shirts and socks in the Chiefs' red and yellow colors.
Nikki Overfelt Chifalu
Startland News
Chiefs-inspired apparel sits ready for shoppers at Charlie Hustle’s Plaza storefront

“Whether you are a bakery, a jewelry company, or a clothing company, it is our Super Bowl time right now,” Betts said. “This is a ginormous opportunity for people to support small businesses, because this is just so huge for us. We can try to compete with the big companies, but it does so much good for us when our local teams win, whether it’s KU, K-State, the Royals, and now it’s the Chiefs the past couple of years.”

“I wish I could just hug every single (Chiefs player) and tell them thank you — not only for giving us this opportunity — but for just such a great atmosphere in our community,” she added.

This story was originally published on Startland News, a fellow member of the KC Media Collective.

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