“This, in all likelihood, unless something really weird happens, will bring us the best merchandise sales we’ve ever had at the US Open – the sales are fantastic,” said Mary Lopuszynski, US Open general manager of merchandising.
The USGA does not release dollar figures. But the nonprofit’s public financial statements report total pre-pandemic revenue from USGA Championship events (the Big Four being the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Opens and television broadcast rights), with Championship merchandise sales of $3.18 million.
Some factors are likely behind this year’s strong showing.
In addition to the chance to make a one-time (albeit last-minute) purchase for Father’s Day (the US Open is always timely in this regard), attendees are “excited to be outside, something they haven’t been able to do much of.” . after about two years of being mostly in lockdown during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lopuszynski said.
Even the work-from-home trend is working in the USGA’s favor when it comes to selling its golf apparel.
“Now that we’re working from home, we dress differently and of course people like to wear golf clothes, but you can also wear them at home, this is normal work clothes now, and that’s changed a lot from what it used to be. to be,” Lopuszynski said.
Lopuszynski and 10 other full-time USGA merchandising employees, along with 21 interns, have been on site since May 1, preparing for what amounts to one of the largest pop-up stores he’s ever encountered.
Of the tournament’s 3,800 volunteers, 1,100 are deployed to sell merchandise from some 250 different vendors.
The main tent occupies 24,000 square feet on what is normally The Country Club’s driving range, conveniently located between holes 1 and 18. There is also an annex tent that occupies some 6,600 square feet near the 14th hole.
The main merchandise tent at past US Opens typically occupies 36 to 39,000 square feet, but that wouldn’t work for The Country Club’s relatively small footprint. But the smaller size in no way limits or slows the pace of sales, Lopuszynski said.
Customers are pulling items off racks and shelves quickly, requiring frequent replenishment managed through an in-house storage facility that features 17 full-size UPS truckload containers.
New merchandise is still being shipped: several boxes of Ralph Lauren items were cataloged before opening Friday afternoon.
The weather is cooperating in favor of merchandise sales.
With cooler weather in the forecast for Sunday, orders have been placed for a further 5,000 pieces of layered outerwear.
Even Friday’s brief flirtation with downpours that never really came despite posted severe weather warnings caused many attendees to find unnecessary shelter in the tent.
And umbrella sales skyrocketed.
“We had a pretty good hour,” Lopuszynski said with a smile.
The biggest seller at the marquee is hats, which comprise about 25 percent, about 100,000 hats in all, of the merchandise. There are about 220 different types of hats (baseball, brim, bucket) and the straw hats are already sold out.
The Country Club’s squirrel mascot and yellow and green color scheme is proving to be a hit, Lopuszynski said.
“It is perhaps one of the best logos we have and the most popular; people love it, it’s a little bit different, a little bit quirky,” he said.
In addition to hats, men’s, women’s and children’s clothing from nine different companies take up much of the space, along with many golf items, including some 20,000 golf towels and 25,000 ball markers.
Prices range from $2 for ball markers to close to $300 for some men’s jackets.
In addition to some 500 toquilla straw hats, other items have sold out, including all the Christmas decorations, some 280 inflatable balls used mostly by children for autographs, some 100 bronze clover ball markers and some 1,500 stuffed little squirrels.
“Boston is a great sports city,” Lopuszynski said. “But now that the US Open is coming here after so many years, I think the level of excitement was off the charts, so that’s great. It’s always nice to be in a place where people think this is as special as we think it is.”