Merch Vendors Converge on Cleveland for RNC

A few weeks after selling Cavaliers’ championship merchandise, Steffen James found himself back in downtown Cleveland for another ad specialty opportunity: the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Setting up shop on Thursday July 14 (in time for the Convention’s official start on Monday the 18th), the St. Louis native had shirts, pins and very popular Donald Trump bobbleheads available. “I’ve probably seen 1,000 pictures taken of this thing,” James said. The bobblehead draws people in to his political-themed shirts: “Real Hope and Change” and “Obama, You’re Fired,” both emblazoned with Cleveland, Ohio, 2016 on the back. James’ stepfather, a government worker, warned his son about the safety concerns surrounding the convention. “But I told him, it’s like Disneyland down here,” James said.

It’s sure been a roller coaster for Scott Little of The T-Shirt Truck, an Ohio-based on-site printing operation. Little said he spoke with a dozen police officers who all told him he parked in a non-permitted zone. “We have to sell 110 shirts to break even this week, and I have to keep moving everything,” Little said. This is his first foray into political promotional products – his company primarily produces T-shirts celebrating holidays, family events and city festivals. “We wanted something that would stand out,” Little said. “So my brother came up with this Abbey Road-inspired Republican shirt. Some people don’t get it at first, but when they figure it out, they love it.”

Travis Cook and Jonathon Kroute of Pennsylvania wanted to do more than stand out – they wanted to shine. So the two co-founders of Yuge Ideas LLC drove overnight to Cleveland to sell T-shirts decorated in rhinestone designs. The $30 shirts feature “Women For Trump” and the Donald’s trademark hairstyle plopped on an elephant. “I haven’t slept in 24 hours,” Kroute said. “But it’s worth it.”

For more images from the RNC, see the ASI Facebook Gallery below.