CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati's football success helped defeat supply chain problems for at least one of its neighbors. Management for DuBois Bookstore said they have seen a year's worth of slow sales rebounding.
After the Bearcats finished an undefeated regular season with victory in the American Athletic Conference Championship game, freshly stocked and loaded clothes racks are big signs of change blowing through DuBois.
"It's a textbook win," J.D. DuBois, store general manager said.
In 2020, concerns about the spread of COVID-19 suspended in-person classes at UC and foot traffic near the bookstore died. Soon after, 65 years of supplying student textbooks ended and DuBois' family-run business turned into a clothes and souvenir shop.
However, with no fans allowed at football games last season, sales stayed flat until the 2021 football team took off.
"Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how excited I am," Janelle Kunz, a 1997 UC graduate and DuBois customer said. "It hits a little harder when it shows on the TV that it's us," said senior Adria Oliver, a volleyball player who graduates Friday.
Crowds rolled in to buy championship gear as an international cotton yarn shortage and supply chain problems surged.
"Right now, we have orders that have been open since June that are not being filled," DuBois said. "Every day you wait for that truck to show up. You're just kind of crossing your fingers saying, 'How many boxes you got?' Sometimes it's two or three. Sometimes it's twenty."
The cure finally came Sunday. UC's birth in the College Football Playoff gave DuBois access to big-event merchandise, a special inventory that ships in hours.
DuBois ordered 7,000 pieces, and hundreds sold quickly.
Kunz saw someone with one of the new shirts at a Bearcats basketball game.
"I hunted him down and was like, 'Excuse me sir,'" she said. "'Where did you get that?' He goes DuBois. I'm like, 'Okay, I'll be there tomorrow.' So here I am."
The surge in sales has helped DuBois rebound from the dearth of sales caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain issues.
"After 2020, I don't know where we would be without it," DuBois said. "It's a huge relief. It was like Christmas."