bc on Fri, 23 Nov 2001 23:27:02 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> 911 Marketplace at Mall of America

  [saw this AP article in the local Minneapolis newspaper, and searched
for it for several days online, but it was not put up until a few days
after being in print it seems. no comments other than an amazing irony
that a store about 911, the emergency telephone number in the USA, was
made into a store for public memorabilia of fire and police, well prior to
the 9-11 attacks. the store is located at the Mall of America, a megamall
nearby the international airport, and is now doing brisk business, with
the patriotic furvor that abounds. bc]

Minnesota Fire-Themed Store Succeeds


Saturday November 17 2:45 PM ET Minn. Fire-Themed Store Succeeds

Minn. Fire-Themed Store Succeeds

By EVAN RAMSTAD, AP Business Writer

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) - Tom McDonough and Sean Moriarty opened 911
Marketplace in May hoping their store would be successful with shoppers
searching for fire, police and emergency-themed gifts. But since Sept. 11
the veteran firefighters have been overwhelmed.

The pair, who work in the training unit of the St. Paul Fire Department,
say they're stunned by the shop's rapid growth.

``There are a lot more stresses than I had ever expected,'' says Moriarty.

Demand soared in mid-September for shirts, hats and items associated with
the New York fire and police departments, which lost hundreds of officers
in the World Trade Center attacks.

Shoppers constantly ask whether the team opened the store in the Mall of
America because of the terrorist acts.

``I assumed it might be something that grew out of September,'' said Phil
Goff, a Kansas City police officer and fire memorabilia collector. ``I was
very surprised to see it here.''

911 Marketplace, along with other fire- and police-memorabilia stores, are
quick to point out they aren't cashing in on the tragedy.

Nate Freedman, owner of New York Firefighter's Friend Inc., has even
printed a history of the 11-year-old store to give inquiring customers. At
Police Collectibles in Eureka Springs, Ark., owner James Post explains he
set up his first catalog in 1987.

McDonough dreamed up the idea for his emergency-themed store after a trip
to Disney World three years ago. His wife and children had bought presents
for his upcoming birthday at the park's fire station-themed gift shop and
McDonough was impressed by the variety of items.

Last year, McDonough and his wife sat down with more than 200 wholesale
and retail catalogs and selected their stock.

When McDonough's first partner bowed out, Moriarty stepped in.  Together,
the pair has invested $70,000 in an 800-square-foot store and Web site.

They rely on word-of-mouth and publicity to draw customers. The store is
packed with toys, clothing and collectibles - ranging from figurines to
wind chimes - alongside antique fire gear, old badges, call boxes and even
fire hydrants.

On the first weekend in November, Moriarty stocked seven dozen ``FDNY''
baseball caps, which sold out. When Moriarty showed McDonough a children's
firefighter T-shirt bundled with markers to color it, McDonough shrugged
and said, ``We need a bigger store.''

But the pair draw the line at products making fun of emergency services
and personnel. Until Sept. 11, one of their top-selling items was a sweat
shirt that said ``If you think being a firefighter is tough, try being a
firefighter's wife.''

Copyright  2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The
information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority
of The Associated Press. (fair-use.edu bc)

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