Have you been on the Plaza recently (around 47th and Broadway, if you want to get specific) and noticed a large Boulevard sign that says 'Coming Soon?' Well today, The Pitch Plog finally shed some light on the mysterious sign, by revealing that Boulevard will be opening up a Dry Goods Store in the spot. Highwoods Properties, the company that owns the Plaza, approached Boulevard about doing the gift shop (which will feature an expanded line of merchandise from what you would normally find at the brewery gift shop), and Boulevard decided to jump on the opportunity. As you may have gathered from the word 'dry', the shop will not sell beer, unfortunately.
You can read more details over at the Pitch website, but in the meantime, I have a few suggestions for Boulevard on some new merchandise that they may want to consider offering. The standard keychains, posters and glassware will sell just fine, but to truly make this store a success, I think they need to look into some unique new items to sell. Here are a few of my ideas:
First aid/hand care kits - Let's face it, those Smokestack bottle corks are a huge pain to get out, regardless of what tricks you try to use. I'd like to meet the person who hasn't developed a case of raw thumbs at least once from trying to pry one of these out. Maybe a nice Boulevard branded case of Neosporin, band-aids, and some moisturizing lotion?
Love Child maternity t-shirts - Sure, t-shirts are nothing new for breweries or as a standard merchandise item. But this would be very specific novelty apparel. Because honestly, how can you not appreciate a t-shirt that says 'LOVE CHILD' with an arrow pointing to a pregnant belly?
Chocolate Ale camping gear - It may not be coming out in 2013, but I don't think anyone doubts that some incarnation of Chocolate Ale will be coming back. And when that chaos ensues in Kansas City again, locals can be ready with their own Boulevard tent, insulated canteen (for beer, obviously, not water), maybe even a small portable stove. This would give Sandy Soccermom the perfect leg up on the competition when it comes to getting her hands on that sweet alcoholic Elbow nectar.
Chocolate Ale crowd control equipment - On the other end of the spectrum, local retailers need to prepare themselves for the potential of unruly crowds. There are all kinds of options out there that could be Boulevard branded; pepper spray, barriers, cattle prods, facemasks, shields.
Boulevard Fatheads - If we are properly raising our kids, then the current generation of youth should be admiring and worshiping brewery employees, not overpaid, egotistical athletes. Why not create Fathead wall decals out of brewers? After all, who could children possibly want looking over them while they play other than 'Serious Danner?'
Coffin beer coolers - When people are preparing to open up their final bottle of Two Jokers (okay okay, ANY limited or discontinued beer), wouldn't it be appropriate to give it a final cooling place that allows for proper mourning? There are coffin wine holders, why not ones that can chill a Smokestack bottle?
Steven Pauwels Yak Bak - For those of you that may not remember the Yak Bak, it was a small voice recorder marketed to kids that, in some models, could also modify your voice when you played it back. And let's face it, who wouldn't want the ladykilling, European accent of Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels? Just record something into the SPYB, hit the 'Play' button, and BOOM, you've been Pauwelized. Hope you're carrying protection!
So there it is Boulevard. I've put it out there, now it's yours for the taking. But be warned, if I see a life size Jeremy Danner sticker on the shelves of the new store, I won't hesitate to take matters to court.
Do you have any other ideas for innovative merchandise that Boulevard should offer in their new Plaza gift shop?