With KU on cusp of Final Four, merchandisers prepare gear to hit store shelves

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Friday night was quiet downtown, but by Saturday night it will be rocking and chalking again. The Elite 8 showdown between Kansas and Oregon determines the Midwest Regional champ, and a place in the Final Four.

Now local businesses are preparing should KU move on to Phoenix.

“We`re getting our T-shirt design ready for Kansas, anticipating them winning tomorrow night`s basketball game against Oregon,” said David Curtis, the Owner of Game Time Graphics. “We`ll have a T-shirt design ready for the Final Four, have it ready for retail locations starting Sunday morning.”

Game Time Graphics is already preparing for that final buzzer to go off Saturday after the game so they're ready to go to production. They’re making sure everything is in place to get the shirts to local stores in time for the fans who want the newest, freshest gear as soon as possible.

“Fans sometimes can be crazy, and they want to get the first shirts as soon as they`re off the press,” Curtis added.

“Run quick to the stores if KU wins, because our product will go out quick,” said Vince Lamas, a manager at the new Rally House downtown.

Lamas says they're bringing in extra employees, and they're getting in shipments of prints done ahead of time, just in case.

“We`re expecting that shipment by tomorrow morning, and we`re going to have it processed and ready for everything,” said Lamas.

Despite not knowing who will take the big "W" -- many KU fans feel pretty confident their team has it in the bag.

“Oh yeah, we`re going to survive and advance and go to Phoenix,” said Joel Borth, a KU Fan.

And many businesses are also taking a gamble in their favor.

“It`s all about the economy, if you have them ahead of time and you sell them, you`re ahead of the competition, it just depends if someone wants to take the risk, and if for some reason they don`t win, then all those shirts have to be destroyed or something has to be done with them. But if they win, then you`re ahead of everybody else,” Curtis said.

“If KU is in the lead with about five minutes left, we`ll change our hours from 9 o`clock usually to midnight,” added Lamas.

And although Curtis might bleed Mizzou Tiger black and gold, what it boils down to is all about the green.

“I take a lot of heat for that...what`s the old saying? You might think of your heart versus your wallet, so this time we think of our wallet not our heart,” said Curtis, being a great sport. “It`s a business, that`s what we do, we look forward to the opportunity, and we get ready to go.”