Tamarack prepared for Boy Scout travelers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Southern West Virginia retailers are cashing in as tens of thousands prepare to descend on the region for this summer's National Boy Scout Jamboree.
At Tamarack, nearly a dozen different kinds of T-shirts emblazoned with the Boy Scouts of America logo, camp scenes and wilderness images rested atop aisle centerpieces this week. It's one of several shops stocking up on officially licensed Boy Scout merchandise.
"It's good for the traveler," said Ron DeWitt, retail director at Tamarack. "We get interest from people passing through who have heard about the Boy Scouts or they are former Scouts or they have children in Scouts. It's one of those generational things — if it's in the family — and people are buying them."
A short drive away lies a sprawling 10,600-acre plot of rugged terrain purchased by the Boy Scouts for the Jamboree site. The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve straddles Raleigh and Fayette counties near the New River Gorge National River and will also host the World Scout Jamboree in 2019.
More than 50,000 Scouts, Venturers, leaders and others will attend the National Jamboree, which is scheduled for July 15-24.
Although the Jamboree is still more than a month away, hundreds of shirts already have been sold, said Megan Benton, a buyer for Tamarack. She said the T-shirts debuted at Tamarack in February.
Tamarack carries about 10 of the 15 designs created by Corporate Identity, the company commissioned to carry officially licensed Boy Scout merchandise.
"We were approached by Tamarack and the state of West Virginia to get a license to do Boy Scout goods for the Bechtel Reserve," said Phil Minker, Corporate Identity president. "We contacted them, and they were gracious enough to give us a license based on the artwork we were capable of doing."
Minker said the company's artist created 15 designs incorporating the Boy Scouts and Summit Bechtel Reserve logos — two requirements of the license.
"I was a Boy Scout and enjoyed my time," Minker said. "We camped and had a campfire — so that was inspiration for one shirt. One has a lake scene, which you see at campsites, and that one is selling very well. It's probably our second-best selling design because it's got a lot of color and flare."
The No. 1 seller features the Boy Scout logo on the front and a Summit Bechtel Reserve logo on the sleeve. It has shipped to Tamarack, Pipestem State Park and rest areas along the West Virginia Turnpike.
"It has two pieces of artwork — that seems to be the one people buy as a souvenir," Minker said.
So far, about 5,000 shirts have been distributed, and Tamarack is the largest of the 25 accounts receiving merchandise, Minker said.
Benton said Tamarack is looking toward commissioning West Virginia artists for other souvenirs — like cups or key chains.
Corporate Identity so far has not produced additional Boy Scout items for retailers.
"We haven't at this time, but we probably could if we have requests," Minker said. "It's the first year, so we're not quite sure what to expect. And it's just about 40 days out now — so it's a short selling period.
"But with stores that have sold the T-shirts, they've been selling well and have reordered. That's a good sign. That means local people are probably buying them to have a souvenir, and that means a lot."