NetKnacks Booth Sales Diary: USTA Southern Sectional Championships, Mobile, AL

March 9-11, 2018

by Darlene Jefferson, Program Director, NetKnacks Tennis Awards

NetKnacks is all about spreading the love of tennis, and one of the most rewarding things I get to do for NetKnacks is spread that tennis love at USTA Sectional Championship Events. Players have worked really hard to earn their spots at these events and get one step closer to a National Championship.

At these events, NetKnacks sells USTA Sectional Championship attire and other imprinted items so each player can commemorate this special event. We just attended the USTA Southern Sectional Championships in Mobile, AL, where there were over 1200 players from across the southern region – Adult, 18 & Over, & 40 & Over, Men’s & Women’s – and I can’t say enough about how excited they were to see us in attendance.

Southern is one of the best-attended events for our booth sales program, and preparation was an adventure. The day before the event, we drove from Atlanta to Mobile in the largest cargo van I have ever driven in my life, completely filled to the brim with our booth and all of the tennis promotional products we could stuff into it. Luckily, we made it in one piece. As we do before every booth sale, we went to the site to stake out the best spot. We always try to choose a location where everyone has to pass our booth – of course they'll love what they see, so they'll stop by!! The Mobile Tennis Center folks were the perfect hosts and let us set up in the front of the parking lot, at the entrance to the tennis center and right by the food trucks where everyone would be getting their lunch throughout the day ( trucks…).

We arrived very early – in the dark (5:30 AM to be exact) – the Friday of the event, since players begin to show up at 7:30 AM and we knew we needed to be ready. We start out every booth set-up by putting out our product options on our three tables and our amazing hanging rack so everyone can see all the apparel options, just like at a rock concert merch stand. And we sure did feel like rockstars. Within 15 minutes of being open, the players took over the booth and we were non-stop ringing up sales with long lines of people waiting to purchase. We kept busy until we closed the booth that day at 5:00 PM. We reorganized, packed up and went directly to bed exhausted from a very successful booth day. And then we did it again. And again. We repeated this process for two more days until the event ended and we were almost completely sold out!

I drove the very large – and empty – van back to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon thrilled with the results of the weekend. Everyone wanted their own special item to bring home to show that they made it to this championship event. Some players even came back several times over the weekend – some could not decide on just one item, and some decided to purchase some of our items as gifts to use throughout the year.

We are constantly bringing new products to the booths and only bring the best quality so that our players will love them and use them over and over again. For USTA Southern, the merchandise we selected included practical drinkware and apparel options as well as fun items like our wine sippy cup, our LOVE Koozie, and our LOVE Net Check. Practical items include Nike Hats and Visors, Tennis Attire, Pullovers, Jackets, Tennis Towels, Coolers, Grips & Drinkware. In Mobile, we sold out of our wine sippy cups within the first hour of being open, a record for us!! I guess Alabamians are thirsty.

NetKnacks primarily sells our items via our online store (, so it is a real treat to see personal reactions of how actual players receive our products. We also learn from them when they give us new product ideas to add to our offering. We meet with our suppliers on a monthly basis throughout the year to see what is new and exciting in the market and what item is the current craze (i.e. fidget spinners) so you never know what you will see at our next booth!

This is just the beginning of a great 2018 tennis season and we look forward to attending sectionals all over the United States in the upcoming months!! Next stop, USTA Southwest in Tucson, Arizona – here we come! I don't think I'll be driving the van for this one.

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