It’s the biggest week of the year at VP Sports, an El Paso-based manufacturing company on the West side.
Machines crank out t-shirts and caps emblazoned with the logos for both teams playing in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Friday: the University of Miami Hurricanes and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
“It was exciting for all of us,” VP Sports owner Chris Van Pelt told ABC-7 about the day his company got word of the two teams participating.
The ‘Canes and the Fighting Irish both have huge followings around the country, which means big sales for the local manufacturer. Employees said this is shaping up to be their best year ever with record online sales.
VP Sports holds the exclusive rights to sell Hyundai Sun Bowl merchandise from the Sun Bowl Association. It’s been this way since 2003, said Van Pelt.
However, they’re facing stiff competition from national corporations selling their own team gear. Van Pelt urged the community to buy Sun Bowl swag from VP Sports. “El Paso has always thrived locally, we’ve sold the game out locally, let’s buy locally” he said.
Other sellers, like the Notre Dame Bookstore which opened for business at the Doubletree Hotel on N. El Paso street Wednesday morning, are not based out of El Paso. However, a cut of the profits will stay in the city according to the spokesman for the Notre Dame Club of El Paso, Chris Avila. Avila said some of the money will go toward a local scholarship fund.