Within a week of the referee's controversial call in the Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game, an Iola business has sold more than 2,200 T-shirts commemorating the event.
Sold by www.oppermacher.com, the T-shirt reads, "Worst Call Ever, 09-24-12."
Customers are coming not just from Wisconsin. So far sales have spanned across 42 states, Washington DC and Alberta Canada. "Even Hawaiians were upset about the play that will live in infamy for the fans of the Green and Gold," said Scott Tappa.
Tappa, along with his wife Jana and Joe and Asherrie Opperman all of Iola and Dennis Gruetzmacher of Stevens Point operate the business.
"This is crazy," Joe Opperman said. His wife Asherrie agrees. "It is crazy, but also a lot of fun. I was in Wal-mart the other day and someone asked me where I got my shirt. They wanted to know if they were being sold there. It was neat seeing the look on their face when I told them that I was one of the people making them."
Jana Tappa adds, "To have something that so many people want is overwhelming."
"This will eventually end, but we will most likely see this shirt walking around for years to come," adds Joe. "Knowing that is really exciting."
He goes on to say, "I never imagined that this would get so big! We put a picture up on facebook Tuesday morning and got a few likes. We figured we would sell a few locally, but then WBAY out of Green Bay shared it on their facebook page and the number of likes, comments and shares exploded!"
WBAY aired a piece on the 6pm news that Wednesday.
"We were watching the news over at the Opperman's house that night," says Scott. "All our kids were in the room with us and when Joe's face appeared on the screen, his son RJ's face lit up like a Christmas tree! In the hours after the broadcast aired I was hitting refresh on the web browser every minute or so. Watching the new sales come in was surreal."
"We were surprised by how quickly it grew, but it speaks to the level of frustration people had with the NFL's replacement referees," adds Joe.
One of the biggest surprises in all of this was being contacted by CNN news. Joe admits that at first they thought it was a prank. "After awhile we realized that no one we knew would have gone through the trouble of creating an email ending in "@turner.com." We asked the contact where we might see anything about the shirt and he said they had seven networks and 1,200 affiliates, so it could be anywhere. That was an eye opener!"
Oppermacher is a design and marketing-focused retail business selling shirts and other apparel to customers around the state and country. Joe Opperman is the head the organization making sales, coordination, production, hatching ideas and overall making things happen. Jana Tappa is the graphic designer, while Scott Tappa coordinates marketing and promotion. Dennis Gruetzmacher handles logistics, shipping and accounting and Asherrie Opperman oversees orders.
Five Kids Shirt Company, a local venture operated by the Tappas and Oppermans, produces limited runs of apparel for athletic teams, school and church groups and family events.
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