An elephant economy: National title run sparks shopping frenzy

Bama Fever in Pelham had a phenomenal year in 2009 with the Crimson Tide winning the Iron Bowl for the second-consecutive year, the SEC Championship, the BCS National Championship and Mark Ingram winning the school’s first Heisman Trophy, but 2010 could be even better.

Even before the Tide won its 13th national championship Thursday over Texas, Bama Fever has been selling national championship game memorabilia since the day after the Tide defeated Florida in the SEC Championship.

Office Manager Kelly Jo Morrison said the momentum of selling Bama gear really started to pick up following the Tide’s 26-21 win over cross-state rival Auburn.

That buying frenzy escalated after the win over Florida and spiked once again before Christmas when Ingram took home the Heisman.

Morrison said the store quickly sold through Ingram’s No. 22 jerseys with the BCS patch.

“We’ve had to reorder twice,” said store Vice President Anton Huber. “We’ve sold anything and everything that has crimson and an A on it.”

But the store will have plenty of national championship gear Friday morning following the big game.

In fact, Bama Fever has already received shipments of national championship gear prior to the game in preparation for Friday morning in case the Tide won. Had the Tide lost, the store will have simply returned the merchandise.

“It’s been a logistical nightmare,” said Huber, “but a welcomed nightmare.”

The Pelham store opened at 8 a.m. Friday, and newer championship merchandise with the final score should arrive throughout the day Friday and Saturday. The store will close when people stop coming in to shop.

“We’re not going to kick anybody out,” Huber said.

The store will even give away roses to female customers Friday in celebration of the victory at the Rose Bowl if the Tide wins.

“We’re going to make it as festive as possible,” Morrison said. “It’s going to be a great celebration.

“For Mark Ingram to win the Heisman, the team to win the SEC Championship and then play in the national championship, all of that combined has made it an incredible year,” Huber said. “If they don’t win (Thursday), well, (the championship run) has been a year earlier than expected anyway. This season’s been fantastic and we’ve been blessed.”