Charlotte, NC - Panthers fans can't seem to get their hands on enough of the team's apparel, with merchandise still flying off vendors shelves. However, what many don't realize is not all vendors are created equal.
Selling what might be considered the most sought after merchandise in the Queen City, licensed NFL vendor Mel Banks has been posted up near the intersection of Wilkinson Boulevard and Old Steele Creek Road since Christmas Eve.
"It's got its good days and its bad days with the cold weather, but, yes, it is something I enjoy,” said Banks.
But he says the process to obtain the privilege of selling official NFL gear isn’t an easy one.
"You definitely have to get a tax permit from the state in order to operate.” said Banks. “And, you know, once you get that and you pass the inspection from the NFL guy that comes around here, and the task force, you’re good to go."
The NFL has strict rules when it comes to selling a licensed team's apparel, and permission must be granted before one can doso. But Banks says it's all for a good reason because it keeps fans from paying big bucks for knock off items.
"The way that you can tell the difference between official and unofficial gear again is it will have an NFL tag on there and a hologram on there,” he said. But not all Panthers merchandise requires an NFL license to sell.
“If it's custom merchandise, you don't have to have license for it” Banks said. “NFL trademark licensing is what you need licensing for."
But custom or not, Banks says business has so far been good.
“The day before the Seattle game, sales were really good,” said Banks. “They’ve tapered off since then. But we're expecting them to beat the Cardinals and you know sales should take off from there and be good up until a month after the Super Bowl."