Archive for Sunday, March 24, 1996


March 24, 1996


A trip to the Final Four would mean round-the-clock shifts for T-shirt printers at Midwest Graphics Inc.

Jerry Benjamin doesn't want to be overly optimistic, but Kansas will be hooping it up this week in New York City.

"We're banking on it," said Benjamin, who plans to sell 1,500 Final Four T-shirts. "I think they'll go all the way, I really do.

"They're rolling along pretty good right now. They've come out strong early in the games so far, and they'll do it."

Benjamin is one of five merchants poised to cash in on the Jayhawks' success at 10 locations, even if it is a bit premature.

The owner of Jayhawk Food Mart has his $10 temporary permit to sell T-shirts outdoors and has KU's permission to hawk KU symbols on six styles of shirts.

Never mind that KU still has another game to win. In fact, he applied for his permits before the tournament even started.

"We've got a standing order with Midwest Graphics," Benjamin said. "The minute they do win, we'll be flying down through there and picking the T-shirts up and hitting the streets. Every year, they get close, and we give it a shot."

No shot's longer than the one launched by Larry Sinks.

As owner of Midwest Graphics, 800 N.H., Sinks printed up two dozen sample shirts in December. One included a Final Four of Kansas, Arkansas, Duke and North Carolina State.

The Razorbacks lost Thursday night, the Blue Devils bowed in the first round and the Wolfpack didn't even qualify for the Big Dance.

He's counting on the Jayhawks bucking the trend.

"I'm praying that they win, that's for sure," Sinks said. "I bought a $20,000 piece of equipment just for this."

With three automatic printers now in place, Sinks' crews are poised to start cranking out up to 1,200 shirts an hour once the buzzer sounds this afternoon in Denver -- and continue nonstop through noon Tuesday.

If KU wins the West regional, his business can expect to run 20,000 or more Final Four shirts -- including designs for all remaining teams except Massachusetts.

If the 'Hawks bow out, Sinks is looking at a more modest run of 4,000.

"Roy Williams has been a big help to all our businesses here," Sinks said. "For the whole town, for all of us screen printers, a Final Four means at least $300,000 in business."

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