December 22, 2017 07:19 PM
When football fans flood Minnesota for Super Bowl 52, many people will be looking for a souvenir to remind them of the big game. And there's a good chance that the item will have been made at WinCraft in Winona.
"Their eyes are wide open and they're like you guys do all of this in a little town of Winona Minnesota," Dave Schipper, WinCraft's vice president for product development said about when people visit the sprawling facility.
The company makes a dizzying number of products, but over the years it's become known for sports memorabilia.
"We've been doing this for a lot of years; there's always Super Bowl somewhere," WinCraft Chairman Dick Pope said.
The company is one of the National Football League's longest licensees – producing official merchandise for more than 50 years. But with the big game being played in their home state, the company with 600 employees is preparing for a record rush in the coming weeks.
Schipper said the game's close proximity will allow WinCraft employees to take busses to Minneapolis in the days leading up to kick off to attend the NFL's Super Bowl Experience and see how their products are being received by buyers.
"There is a high level of expectation that comes out of the NFL," Schipper said.
WinCraft's close relationship with the league has allowed them to offer their own ideas for items too – like a special double-sided can cover with this year's Super Bowl logo and the one from 1992.
Workers won't waste any time either once the teams in the Super Bowl are announced. Pope said production of team-specific merchandise for the Super Bowl will begin "almost instantly" as the last game ends determining the matchup.
"We start that night that Sunday and will be shipping some things Monday morning," Pope said.
Updated: December 22, 2017 07:19 PM
Created: December 22, 2017 06:03 PM
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