As the United States Olympic team heads to London for the 2012 Olympic Games and sports fans everywhere begin to swell with American pride, visitors coming to Charlotte Motor Speedway are taking notice of the speedway’s new efforts to promote “Made in America” souvenirs.
“NASCAR was born in the USA, and we are committed to investing in high-quality American-made merchandise for our fans,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager for Charlotte Motor Speedway. “When you walk into our gift shop, whether you’re looking for a T-shirt, jacket, hat or other souvenirs, we want you to have the choice of buying an American-made product.”
As souvenirs go, T-shirts are the “bread and butter” for Charlotte Motor Speedway, comprising the majority of overall sales. In 2012, the speedway has purchased all of the blank T-shirts used for screen-printing and embroidery from Jensen Apparel. Jensen, which operates a facility in nearby Albemarle, N.C., gets all of the raw materials used in its production processes from domestic suppliers.
“There’s a significant ripple effect to buying American-made goods,” Smith said. “We buy from an American company, which employs American workers and gets its materials from American farmers. Those farmers can use their profits to expand their businesses, create more jobs and hopefully buy some race tickets.”
In addition to Jensen, Charlotte Motor Speedway has partnered with Winston-Salem-based SustainU, a leading provider of domestically-made apparel produced from 100 percent recyclable materials. The track also works with suppliers like WinCraft, a Minnesota-based company that provides a wide variety of American-made souvenirs, from key chains and bumper stickers to jewelry and other novelty items.
In the gift shop, located on the second floor of the Smith Tower, fans will find banners and other signage proudly highlighting “American Made” merchandise.
In addition, SMI Properties, the merchandise supplier for all of the speedways operated by Charlotte Motor Speedway’s parent company, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: TRK), operates a facility in nearby Harrisburg, N.C., which employs more than 70 workers. The staff produces graphic designs, screen prints and embroiders track-branded and event-specific merchandise, including T-shirts and other items sold at the Bank of America 500, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600, O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and the Food Lion AutoFair, among other events.
“We intentionally put a lot of effort into domestic production, especially here at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” Smith said. “The ultimate goal is to get as much produced domestically as possible and provide fans with the best choices for what they want to buy at a fair price.”