Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

Businesses crazy for ‘monkey madness’

April 6, 2001

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Prairie Graphics, a Law-rence-based screen printer, got caught up in "monkey madness" last month. The company made 300 T-shirts featuring Roy Williams and the now-famous "Stank 'Em" monkey, the one-time good-luck mascot that helped lift Kansas University's Jayhawks past Syracuse and into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

The monkey's charms, of course, wore off in the Jayhawks' game against the University of Illinois, when KU lost 80-64.

Despite the loss, Jon Hofer, owner of the shop at 641 E. 22nd St., and other screen printers in Lawrence were busy filling orders for shirts connected with the basketball tournament.

Hofer and his 10 employees initially printed about 5,000 shirts for the tournament, including those shipped to the four regional sites of the Sweet 16. He expected the three-week tournament to generate about 10 percent of his annual sales.

KU's own "Sweet 16" edition was a special order. It built off the KU coach's decision to have his players knock a stuffed monkey off his back prior to the Syracuse game, to relieve him of the pressure of losing in the second round during each of the past three seasons.

Across town at Midwest Graphics Inc., 800 N.H., owner Leon Dreiling filled orders for about 200 vendors outside tournament sites and in 13 of 16 towns that have teams participating.

Midwest Graphics had three dozen employees working up to 70 hours a week filling orders. In all, Dreiling figured his company printed up to 70,000 T-shirts, or enough to account for about 20 percent of the company's total revenue for the year.

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