Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men’s basketball team is in position it is not used to as its postseason fate remains up in the air. Retailers who sell their merchandise are waiting, too, for sales to rebound.
The Shrunken Head, at 155 East Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, has seen a decline in sales this season as the Tar Heels struggle on the basketball court.
“Of course, it has slowed down some because (of) the basketball team not being as good as they can be,” said Teresa Lindsay, manager of the Shrunken Head. “We haven't been as aggressive with our ordering as we were last year, just because you could clearly see the team was better.”
The Tar Heel's 2009 national championship sparked a banner year for the Shrunken Head. They sold 2,500 T-shirts following the big game.
However, Lindsay said she isn't discouraged by the drop in sales this year because UNC doesn't live by basketball alone.
“If all the sports did badly, we would probably have a problem,” she said.
Emlyn Thompson, a prospective UNC student from California, isn’t letting the basketball slump get her school spirit down.
“I like the big campus and all the school spirit, obviously. I’ve been a fan of the basketball team forever. I just love UNC,” she said.
Imani Sanders, a prospective UNC student from New Jersey, is also staying true to Carolina blue.
“It doesn't affect the way I look at the school, though. I still love UNC. It’s definitely top on my list,” Sanders said. “One of the things that first attracted me to the school is Tar Heel pride. It is just amazing, and there are not too many schools that have school spirit like this.”
Norwood McDowell, a Raleigh-based T-shirt manufacturer, said that despite the school's lackluster basketball season, he is still selling twice as much UNC paraphernalia than of any other school.