Three NC retailers to sell gear at U.S. Open

cjurney@newsobserver.comJune 10, 2014 

— Three North Carolina-based retailers will be among the more than 200 companies selling licensed souvenirs, golf equipment and clothes this week during the U.S. Open golf tournament.

Devant Sport Towels of Monroe, Raleigh-based Peter Millar and Stitch of Cary were selected by the U.S. Golf Association to sell their gear to tournament attendees.

This is the second year that Stitch, which makes customizable head and putter covers, has sold goods at the Open. Danny Thomas, a sales representative for the 3-year-old company, said the fact that the men’s and women’s tournaments will be held on back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst made this a unique opportunity.

The occasion is being commemorated with a logo touting both trophies, which Thomas predicts will make merchandise featuring the logo hot sellers.

Stitch will be selling the only covers in the Open merchandise pavilion. The company produces exclusively in North Carolina with four factories throughout the state.

“We have a huge Father’s Day sale online, so we are tying that in by encouraging customers to buy head covers for the dads in their lives,” said Stitch sales representative Ashley Autry, who recently graduated from N.C. State University.

The Open’s projected economic impact for the state is $169 million with 400,000 visitors forecast over the two weeks. About 55,000 fans a day are expected to attend on Saturday and Sunday. Mary Lopuszynski, USGA’s director of licensing and merchandising for the Open, said she expects more than 130,000 transactions this week.

The Open purchases the merchandise at wholesale price, adds its logo and sells it before and during the tournament. The store opened last week and hosted a fashion show Friday to debut the merchandise. Prices in the store range from a couple of dollars to as much as $1,250. A rubber ball costs $2, and the most expensive item is a framed print of the Pinehurst course by painter Linda Hartough.

Ralph Lauren, which has its largest U.S. distribution center in Greensboro, is the official outfitter of the Open. The tournament’s 6,500 volunteers will all be wearing Ralph Lauren.

The other two North Carolina companies featured in the pavilion have a long tradition of selling goods at the Open. Devant Sport Towels, a division of Dynamic Brands, has been with the Open for more than 20 years.

Devant sold 32,000 golf towels at last year’s tournament, said production manager Eddie Savage. The Open is one of the largest events throughout the year for the company, he said.

Raleigh outfitter Peter Millar will for the first time showcase its women’s line, which includes yoga pants. The company will also sell its men’s performance boxer shorts, which come in bright pastel patterns.

Peter Millar performance golf shirts, priced at $86, are one of the best-selling items. Sales representative Cameron MacPhil described it as the Rolls Royce of golf shirts.

“The brand is strong in North Carolina, so people will seek out Peter Millar, which makes my job easy,” said MacPhil.

Jurney: 919-829-4834

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