Safety regulations from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have limited how many people can attend local school football games, but this hasn’t affected spirit gear sales, local retailers say.
Heather Simons of El Campo owns Southern Belle Boutique, 1706 N. Mechanic, which sells Ricebird jewelry, clothing and other items geared toward women and children’s fashion. She also sells spirit gear for St. Philip Catholic School and the Louise Hornets.
“It’s different designs every year,” Simons said.
Sales have been the highest for Ricebird spirit gear, Simons said, with the amount of business being about the same as in previous years. Louise school spirit wear sells the least at her store since she’s located in El Campo.
Louise “is always the lightest one,” Simons said.
El Campoan Brandi Swint owns Sweet Tees Sportswear, a local shop that specializes in creating graphic t-shirts using various techniques. Most of her spirit gear sales come from Louise Hornet fans, she said, and she sells Hornet and Ricebird shirts, towels, hoodies and more.
“Right now is pretty busy,” Swint said. “People are getting a lot more spirit gear right now, and I’m coming up with a lot more (designs).”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Swint began operating her business from her home, but hasn’t noticed a large decrease in spirit gear sales due to the pandemic.
“It hasn’t really caused any issues since (COVID-19) has impacted Louise less than El Campo,” Swint said.
Local Scott Yackel, who owns The Screen Stop, 109 W. Jackson, with his wife Brandi, has seen an increase in Hornet gear sales this year.
“Louise and Rice (Consolidated ISD) have probably picked up a little bit,” Yackel said.
The LHS Hornets varsity football team has performed better this season than in previous seasons, being the only high school team in Wharton County that is undefeated so far.
Yackel’s business sells hoodies, hats, shirts and even cheer uniforms with designs for the local districts. Reusable face masks are a new addition this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
During the early stages of the pandemic, Screen Stop was able to maintain some business since the merchandise is printed at the store, Yackel said.
“Earlier this year it was really slow, but once school started things picked up a lot,” he added.