Bedlam good news for one Tulsa business

Thursday, October 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

They're stitching people up in Tulsa before the big OU-OSU game this weekend. We're not talking football injuries. We’re talking embroidery.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg shows us clothes that make the fan.

Sunbelt Sports is hanging on by a thread. Which is to say they're actually doing very well. You've probably seen the rows and rows of merchandise. But you probably didn't know that they do the majority of their own embroidery work right in back of the store. "Each one of these has the ability to do a half a dozen at a time."

Computer-controlled machines crank out the same design on multiple shirts at the same time. Owner Gary Vance says while department stores are stuck with whatever design suppliers send them, here they themselves decide what to put on the clothes. "Now it could have easily had a helmet, it could have had a schooner, but in this case we put an OU on it."

They start out with rows of blank shirts. Red on one side and orange on the other. They say OU sales run about 65% and OSU sales about 35%, but they say the Cowboys have been closing the gap in recent years. And it's not just sports logos, just about anything that can be scanned into the computer can be put on clothing, mapped down to the last stitch. "And the machines read his program, and they know exactly what colors to run, when to stop, how many threads to lay down, it's really quite fascinating."

In fact the embroidery has gotten bigger than their retailing. But this week, it's all bedlam. In fact, he says it started as soon as last Saturday's games ended. "By Monday, people are in here and they got their checkbooks and credit cards out."

And Sunbelt is reaping what they sew. Sunbelt Sports runs the Big Red Sales store for OU merchandise and Cowboy Petes for OSU stuff.