Business booms in wake of Bronco-busting Seahawks' victory

Staff writerFebruary 3, 2014 

Sample of Seahawks champion shirt being designed by Northwest Embroidery.


Call it one giant leap for a football team and one very happy loss of $70,000 for Harkness Furniture.

The South Tacoma furniture dealer has placed a bet with customers. If they bought something - anything - between Thursday and two hours before the Super Bowl kickoff on Sunday, and if a Seahawk returned an opening kickoff for a touchdown, well, the furniture would be free.

Spend $1,000 on a living room ensemble, and get $1,000 back after the game.

Seahawk Percy Harvin did return the opening kickoff of the second half, running 87 yards for the score.

Harkness was insured against the loss, said manager John Opland on Monday.

Early on, he had a hunch this might happen.

“With their kicker hurt, and Harvin back, this is a possibility,” Opland recalls telling some customers.

And it happened.

“As I was watching, it was almost surreal,” he said. 

Durk Farnes, Harkness  marketing director, spent part of Monday communicating with some of the 70 lucky customers who will get their money back. He’s been answering calls, texts and emails.

Customers are asking if it’s a real deal, if they’ll truly get a refund.

“Yes, it looks like that to me,” he tells them. “Sweet.”

He recalls Sunday’s game, as he watched Harvin score. 

His wife, Trena, asked him at the time, “Did they just do what you wanted them to do?”

“They sure did,” he answered.

“People are just thrilled about it,” said Opland. “So are we. We were rooting for it.”

Meanwhile, at Gallery Furniture in Houston, owner Jim McIngvale lost some $7 million on a promotion that full offered a refund to any customer who spent over $6,000  by Saturday night – if the Seahawks won.

And of course, they won.

At Northwest Embroidery in Milton, owner Jim Mickelson said Monday, “By 12 o’clock, literally, we needed a parking lot attendant.”

Championship T-shirts were ready by noon and Mickelson’s crew had a difficult time keeping up with demand.

“As soon as we got a pile, they’re sold,” he said.  “You can’t imagine what the Seahawks have done for the local economy.”

Mike Ewing, chief marketing officer at Massachusetts-based Oyo Sportstoys, can imagine just that.

His company produces and distributes a variety of collectibles and sports-related gift items.

“We’ve seen, in the last 48 hours, an increase in demand,” he said Monday. “We’ve seen demand double.”

He’s talking about Seahawks products.

“For the last month, the Seahawks have been our largest-selling team,” he said.

Not Denver, not the Yankees, not the New Jersey Devils.

“We always see an increase in demand for top teams, and for Super Bowl teams it’s usually a nice increase,” he said. “I would say Seattle is unique. The demand was high, and has doubled. The demand was already very high. You have such an engaged fan base.”

He does expect demand to diminish once the 12th Man and Woman have satisfied their immediate demands for merchandise.

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle wasn’t our top-selling team through a successful season next year,” he said.


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