Husker football season kicks off in just a few weeks, and GROW Nebraska members are ready to help fans cheer for a winning season.
Several GROW Nebraska members create or sell Husker products to wear, eat or display. These businesses must carefully follow Husker licensing requirements, a process that GROW Nebraska can help guide members through.
Bakers Candies in Greenwood is celebrating its 30th year of producing delicious chocolate meltaways. This family-owned company recently announced expansion plans and is building Nebraska’s largest candy store featuring its famous foil-wrapped chocolate candies plus other popular candy.
Owner Todd Baker said about 12 years ago, his company decided to become an officially licensed Husker vendor.
“The process is cumbersome and involves a lot of paperwork; however, I always tell people if we were able to navigate the process anyone can,” Todd said.
Bakers Candies now sells several Husker candy gifts, including a 14-ounce box of milk and dark chocolate meltaways wrapped in red and white foil, a double insulated Huskers Mason Jar Mug filled with meltaways and a 4-ounce bag of Husker Meltaways.
“Building an association with the most recognizable brand in the state is always a good idea for any new Nebraska product,” Todd said. “Even if the officially licensed sales fail to net much profit, the brand association to your business is hard to quantify in its value.”
GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke said it’s extremely important that any businesses selling Husker items be licensed. Products that contain the word “Nebraska” or use the outline of the state don’t need to be licensed. But, any products using the word “Husker” or the official “N” would be in trademark violation if they are not licensed.
She cautions that there are even rules against purchasing licensed Husker fabric, creating something new from that fabric and then selling it.
“You can’t infringe on someone’s trademark,” Janell said.
GROW Nebraska works closely with members to ensure that they are following Husker licensing requirements.
“Our goal is to point businesses in the right direction so everyone understands how the licensing works,” Janell said.
In the past, GROW has offered special trainings to help businesses get started on the licensing process. And, GROW staff can help owners talk through the pros and cons of getting a Husker license and can help business owners connect with the right people to get started on licensing or to ask further questions.
Tom Coday, vice president of operations (and truck driver!) at Lou’s Sporting Goods & Nebraska Sports, said his company has been licensed to sell Husker products since the late 1980s. The company also is licensed with Creighton University, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Iowa and Iowa State. They must stay on top of all the rules and continually renew the licenses as athletic departments update and restructures rules on selling licensed products.
Lou’s Sporting Goods/Nebraska Sports started as a retail store in Fremont in 1967 and now has six locations across Nebraska (Lincoln, Omaha, Columbus and two in Fremont) and one in Wichita, Kan. They have a sales team of 14 who visit high schools and colleges across Nebraska and the Midwest to supply uniforms and equipment for athletic teams. Lou’s carries a full line of all major vendors, including Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Russell, Schutt, Easton, Rawings and many other top brands.
Tom said that Husker products make up a high volume of their business in Nebraska, and they have some new unique Scott Frost designs ready for this season.
Jim Crosby, owner of the Sporting Edge at Kearney’s Hilltop Mall, said the coaching change has also increased sales of Husker items at his store.
“We needed a shot in the arm,” Jim said. “There were people about ready to give up their season tickets.”
This time of year, his store is fully stocked with a selection of Husker apparel (nearly 100 designs) and Loper products, which are popular in Kearney. The store also has more than 300 backpacks to choose from.
In addition, the store displays more than 500 styles of shoes and carries popular name-brand products from Nike, Adidas, GoPro, North Face and other name brands. They also provide sports equipment for everything from youth soccer leagues to college athletes and weekend warriors.
Jim and his wife, Gina, started the Sporting Edge thirty years ago and have operated from Kearney’s Hilltop Mall the entire time. In the past, they have hosted special autograph sessions with Husker players, including Scott Frost.
Thank you to Nebraska Sports, Bakers Candies and the Sporting Edge for donating Husker items for our GROW Nebraska’s Fall Husker giveaway! Follow us on Facebook for your chance to win Husker chocolates, Scott Frost t-shirts and Husker hats.
BLOG AUTHOR BIO: GROW Nebraska member Kristine Jacobson is a former journalist and non-profit executive who is now putting her writing and marketing skills to work telling the stories of small businesses and organizations (www.krjpr.com). She is also the founder and editor of Nebraska Family Magazine, an e-magazine that provides encouragement and inspiration to Nebraska families.
GROW Nebraska is a nonprofit membership organization, serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses. The organization provides marketing opportunities, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs and scholarship opportunities are funded in part by federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors. For more information, please visit www.grownebraska.org.