BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – A Burlington maker of licensed merchandise and apparel has won a licensing agreement with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to make apparel under the U.S. team logos through 2006.

The deal with Select Design was finalized two weeks ago, and Thursday afternoon U.S. Ski Team-logoed T-shirts were rolling off production lines at the company’s plant. The company is scrambling to put apparel into stores in time for the holiday selling season.

Company owners Kevin Owens and Jeff Beer wouldn’t reveal dollar figures, but said the deal has the potential to grow to 15 to 20 percent of Select Design’s overall business.

Select Design is the largest branded merchandise and apparel company in the state, producing up to 325,000 silk-screened items a month.

The company’s customers include PepsiCo Inc., Viacom and Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.

Creating a brand for USSA represents a new direction for the snowsports organization. In the past, different companies produced items including T-shirts, caps and clothing with the U.S. Team logo but under their own names.

There wasn’t an effort to market the products under the U.S. team label, said Ted Morris, vice president of marketing for USSA in Park City, Utah.

The companies licensed to use the logo weren’t doing a good job of distributing team apparel, Morris said.

“The biggest struggle we’ve had is getting our logoed product in ski and snowboard shops at resorts. We don’t have the distribution muscle and power to do that on our own,” he said.

Select Design has hired sales representatives who already carry winter sports lines to sell the new lines called Authentics. This season’s line includes T-shirts, sweat shirts and sweat pants in trendy styles.

The goal is to get the apparel into 100 to 200 shops and outlets this year, said David Provost, who heads up licensing at Select Design.

“The success stories are out there: NASCAR, Major League Baseball. The U.S. Ski Team was missing the opportunity,” said Provost, who came to Select Design this summer from ski company Dynastar where he was president and chief financial officer.

AP-ES-11-01-03 1036EST


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