Hit the Road

Whet your appetite by targeting the lucrative specialty food industry.

For almost 40 years, the city of Utica, NY, has welcomed fitness enthusiasts from near and far for the Boilermaker Road Race, held every second Sunday in July. Originally a 15K course, the event has blossomed into a multifaceted occasion, with a 5K, 3-Mile Walk, Kid's Run, Youth Olympics, Community Mile Run and more. "It's become very popular," says Boilermaker President Tim Reed. "Last year, the 15K sold out in three hours with 14,000 participants, and the 5K sold out 45 minutes later with 4,500."

With so many attendees each year – both participants and spectators – branded garments for the event are varied. For the past five years, the event organizers have worked with A&P Master Images (asi/702505), a local apparel decorator, to fulfill many of their needs.

"Our first year, we customized T-shirts and did a couple promotional items for them," says A&P CEO Howard Potter. "Little by little, our work has increased since we offer many different services and products." For last year's race, A&P customized 5,000 pieces of apparel, including T-shirts, tanks, hoodies, headbands and hats, as both official merchandise and personalized items for participating teams. "We used a lot of custom mixed ink and threads," says Potter, "and we also provided cowbells, Bondi Bands, decals and magnets."

When Potter first reached out to Reed offering to supply the event with official merchandise, he was made aware of certain expectations. "We had to create the artwork for the orders as needed, produce a quality product and deliver it on time," says Potter. "We continue to work hand-in-hand with them to pick out items. We always attend the ASI and ISS shows to see what's new and exciting that we could bring to them, as well as different ways to customize." During the 2014 event, Boilermaker sold 6,000 pieces of apparel and accessories provided by A&P.

"If you're tasked with providing branded items for a racing event," says Potter, "make sure the apparel is appropriate and that the design is interchangeable for the customer to wear with other pieces they may already have or items they've bought elsewhere at the event. It creates room for more sales so the product moves faster. The more they sell, the more you all make as a team."
Sara Lavenduski