Feb. 06--Blake Burroughs and his team at Top Shelf Screen Printing have more than Broncos pride or a goofy bet riding on this year's Super Bowl.
They only work if the Broncos take the title.
Burroughs, co-owner of Top Shelf, a screen printing and embroidery shop at 5807 20th St. in west Greeley, has worked out a deal with Nike to print the Super Bowl 50 shirts -- a deal that only comes to fruition if the Broncos bring home the trophy.
Those playoff runs are lucrative. When they printed the AFC Championship shirts in January, they made $40,000.
If the Broncos win the Super Bowl they will earn $70,000 more.
"Nike just called and said they're sending an extra 18,000 shirts," he said Friday afternoon. "That's on top of the 30,000 they already have ready to print on Sunday night."
Burroughs and some of his managers watched half the AFC Championship game against the Patriots on an airplane from L.A., on their way home from a trade show. They listened on edge to the third quarter on the radio on the car ride from the airport and finished listening at the shop. When the Broncos won, they were ready to go. The press started within a few minutes.
Burroughs said they usually get the call from Nike to start printing before the end of the game, but the Jan. 24 game was so close, they didn't hear from Nike until a few minutes after the end. That night they ran until midnight and made 7,000 shirts naming the Broncos as AFC champions.
Burroughs calls it "hot market" printing. They'll likely print all night long if the Broncos win.
Not every screenprinting shop will run overnight. Garretson's Sports Center, 3817 W. 10th St., will not start its printing until Monday morning.
They don't have a contract with anyone else and print the shirts for in-store sales.
The good thing about that is their shirts are completely different, said Owner Todd Garretson.
It helps with sales, of course, but more important, the uproar gets people in the store.
"Any shirt we sell from being in the Super Bowl, it's one we wouldn't sell if we weren't," Garretson said. "We'll probably sell a couple hundred shirts. Plus, if a kid is thinking more about football because the Broncos are in the Super Bowl and we sell one more ball, it benefits us too."
Even though the outcome of the game, and therefore the work, is uncertain, Top Shelf employees will start early Sunday with designing the shirt at the shop. Cody Smith, production artist, said he will get there at 9 a.m. to start working with the Nike representative, who has to approve the print, colors and design before the game kicks off. He said watching the game is nerve-racking.
"There's a job on the line, too," he said. "It's not just watching TV."
Luke Hoffman, general manager, said it's cool to do it because it's fun -- plus he said, it's bragging rights.
"It's just to say we did it. We were chosen. Our shop was chosen to print these shirts for the winner," he said.
In 2013, after Broncos won the AFC Championship game, they worked for 23 hours.
"It was pretty fun -- we made beds out of boxes," to catch some Z's in the downtime. "It was a wild night."
If it looks like the Super Bowl will end in the Broncos' favor, they will all hop in their cars at the end of the third quarter or so and head in to work. There they'll watch or listen to the last part of the game and then wait for the go-ahead call from Nike.
It will be hard work, but Top Shelf employees hope the Broncos come through so they can do it.
"Our managers, our operators -- watching them turn up the music and run until five o'clock in the morning is more fun," Burroughs said. "You watch everybody come together."
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