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SOUTHLAND BUSINESS

L.A. Raiders Hard Hats a Hit

October 05, 1986|DENISE GELLENE

James H. Beal may live in Washington state, but he loves the Los Angeles Raiders. And for good reason. Beal sells construction helmets that he decorates with the colors and insignia of National Football League teams. So far, Raiders fans have snapped up more hats than anyone else.

Beal said Raiders hats account for 20% of his production, which is now up to 120 hats a day. The 2-year-old business is doing so well, he said, that he is spending less time refinishing cars at his Des Moines, Wash., auto body shop. Beal said he has received orders for about $60,000 worth of helmets.

Beal said he isn't sure why the Raiders hats outsell the others, although he has a few thoughts on the subject. "The Raiders have an image of intimidation and power that fits with the image of a hard hat," said Beal, adding that the poorest sellers are the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints.

Though the revenue from hat sales is already twice what he takes in from his auto body business, Beal doesn't expect to live on hat sales to retail stores and sports arenas alone. Before he pockets any profits, he must pay expenses that include a $5,000 royalty fee to the National Football League for use of the teams' colors and logos. The league also gets 7.5% of hat sales.

"We're not making a whole lot of profit," Beal said, adding that he is enjoying his new sideline, nonetheless.

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