Saluki basketball success boosts local sales
By: Carly O'Keefe
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The continued intensity of the Saluki basketball season brings with it a flurry of retail sales.
Local stores selling Saluki gear have seen more fans buying everything from apparel to face paint to support SIU as they continue to climb in national prominence. "As the season progresses and the team does better, we always see an increase in sales," said Aaron Savka, owner of Carbondale's Saluki Central stores.
According to retailers, this year sales have been even better than normal, following what's arguably the best regular season the men's Saluki basketball team's ever had. "I think this year, this team is pretty special. They've done some things that the teams in the past haven't done, even though the teams in the past were good, these guys got something a little different to them. People seem to take to them a little more than some of the teams in the past," said Savka.
The love of the team has translated into more fans buying more stuff to show support. "You wanna show your pride and school spirit and cheer them on, and when the new fashions come out you have to go with the new too," said Saluki Basketball fan Jaime Lodge.
"This year I'm probably a bigger fan, because I've been following this team for the past years, and to see a couple seniors they have and Falker has really stepped up to the plate and Shaw, it's been a fun year to watch," said Saluki fan Randy Kerkemeyer.
The team has made it into the NCAA Tournament five years in a row, and will make it again this year. Bt fans have lofty hopes that the salukis can make it a dream season--which would also make for an even more successful retail season. "We're hoping to go farther in the tournament then we'll have the demand there when we'll have pre-orders for Sweet Sixteen gear and even the Elite Eight T-shirts, so I'm hopeful," said Savka.