JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ever since Senator Bernie Sanders was spotted all bundled up in over-sized mittens at last week’s presidential Inauguration, he’s been getting around. Well, at least his meme has.
From visiting with Marvel’s Deadpool...
...to hanging with the cast of The Bachelor,
internet fans have been having a good time. The Vermont senator’s meme even paid a visit to the Jacksonville Humane Society, captioned “Senior dogs watching puppies get adopted like...”
It didn’t take long for Bobby Kelley, owner of BobbyK Boutique on North Main Street in Springfield to get an idea of his own.
He recalls the moment he saw Sanders in that now-iconic pose, following an interesting election process.
“He has the total energy I think we all had at that point,” Kelley said. “We were all sitting there with our arms crossed and our legs crossed and we all felt that. I don’t think it matters what side of the fence you fall on, you felt that moment.”
He was intrigued by how quickly people were taking notice.
“Within a few minutes of having them online, we were seeing them start to turn,” Kelley said. “So, it was really fascinating to see how fast they were going.”
It doesn’t end with candles. Kelley is also selling stickers and magnets with the senator’s image. Kelley says the reaction in terms of sales has been great.
“We do a lot of wholesale business with other boutiques from a design standpoint,” Kelley said. “So, we’ve been able to get them into other stores in the country.”
What’s more, Kelley says it’s brought some post-COVID-19 life back into the store. He believes that’s the case with the Springfield neighborhood at large.
“We’re seeing a lot of new people who haven’t necessarily been to Springfield before or didn’t know we were here saying, ‘Oh I heard about this, my friend got it, my coworker had it,’” Kelley said. “The side effect of that is they’re visiting the restaurants, they’re getting to-go lunches, and they’re visiting our other neighbors, which is really exciting.”
The boutique does much more than sell Sanders merchandise. When there was a need for more masks during the early part of the pandemic, Kelley had a program where if people bought a mask from his store, he would donate a mask. He said his store ended up releasing about 10,000 masks to the public. To see that story, click here.