Login Dark

Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce give Kansas City businesses a boost - Business Insider

Author: Business Insider

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/taylor-swift-travis-kelce-kansas-city-missouri-business-economy-booming-2023-10

Image of Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce give Kansas City businesses a boost - Business Insider

Kansas City has been gripped by Taylor Swift mania amidst her relationship with Travis Kelce.Everything the pop star touches turns to gold, which is helping Kansas City's economy.Kansas City businesses said they've seen booming sales from Swifties.LoadingSomething is loading.Thanks for signing up!Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you're on the go.Last weekend, the Kansas City vintage shop Westside Storey had its best weekend of sales "in a long time," manager Megan Folmsbee said.The reason?Taylor Swift.Ever since the pop phenom first showed up to cheer on her rumored beau, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, at Arrowhead stadium on September 24th, the Midwestern city has been feeling bejeweled.The shop has sold out of a T-shirt emblazoned with "Who's Travis Kelce Anyway?Ew" — a play on the "22" lyric — and a "Red Zone Taylor's Version" T-shirt and sweatshirt featuring images of Swift and Kelce.The downtown store has been flooded with in-person shoppers, and online orders for Swift-themed products are way up.Westside Storey is one of several Kansas City businesses Insider spoke with that have seen a Swiftmania bump in sales. The crowds at Westside Storey are especially big on game days, when sales have spiked between 30 and 40%.Meanwhile, ticket sales for Chiefs games have soared."We've seen people kind of trying to copy her style and coming in and finding the best vintage sweatshirt that looks just like hers and wearing those to the games, which is fun," Folmsbee said.Recently, the store fielded "a pretty interesting order" for Chiefs apparel that they they've had fun speculating came from Swift's team.They're not alone: Swiftmania has seized Kansas City, and the next great American dynasty — of a blockbuster football team and pop music superstar — is invigorating the Midwestern city.After all, people are more interested in Kelce now that he's dating Swift than they were when he won his second Super Bowl last February.When Ericka Hamilton and Misha Wilson, sisters who own a jewelry store, saw Swift at her first Chiefs game on September 24th, they got an idea.The duo happen to be friends with Randi Mahomes, the mother of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.So Hamilton and Wilson quickly made several custom stackable bracelets — a signature of their Arkansas-based store, Erimish — and gave them to Randi to deliver to Swift.Swift debuted one of Erimish's bracelets — featuring Kelce's jersey number, 87 — at her fourth Chiefs game on October 22. Images of the singer wearing the bracelet quickly went viral on social media and fueled the media obsession with the new romance.Sales of the "87" bracelet were up 300% the day after the game, Erimish's head of retail sales, Sarah Fretwell, told Insider.The store has also seen a "dramatic increase" in sales of their other custom jewelry, a surge in website traffic, and lots of calls, emails, and social media callouts, she added.Erimish gave Swift several other bracelets that the retailer hopes she'll wear at future games."It's kind of fun seeing which surprise she's going to debut each week," Fretwell said.Erimish is leaning into Swiftmania.The store will host a "build your own" pop-up friendship bracelet bar in Kansas City on the day that Travis plays his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, at Arrowhead Stadium on November 20th.All the Swift-related attention could be great news for Kansas City, where the central business district has struggled to bring back office workers in the wake of the pandemic.Researchers at the University of Toronto found earlier this year that the city ranked among the slowest in the country in bringing foot traffic back to its downtown. But newer data has found office workers are back to 72% of their pre-pandemic numbers, and tourism has surged.While Tayvis mania might not singlehandedly revitalize Kansas City, it's already injecting a welcome economic boost — and businesses are happy to benefit from Swiftsanity."Her being around and being involved in the Chiefs community has really kind of brought Kansas City into the public light on a national scale in a way that it hasn't been in a long time," Folmsbee said.Businesses are feeling the 'Tayvis' bumpKansas City saw an estimated $47.8 million direct economic impact when Taylor Swift's Eras Tour came to town in July, according to Visit KC.It's difficult to quantify the exact effect of Tayvis, but local clothing store RAYGUN has seen Taylor and Travis-themed shirts flying off the shelves.Kansas City clothing store RAYGUN has seen its Swift and Kelce items fly off the shelves.Courtesy of RAYGUN"We've had a lot of Taylor Swift fans who are now new Chiefs fans coming in, and we have Chiefs fans who are now suddenly Taylor Swift fans coming in to buy any and all the shirts that they can get their hands on," Xavier Ross, the manager of RAYGUN, told Insider.It's been great for business, according to Ross, with Taylor/Travis shirts consistently in their weekly top five sales.One of their new pieces simply says "Go Taylor Swift's Boyfriend!""I've noticed a lot of people will just go, oh yeah, Taylor's boyfriend, and it's like, he has a name — and it's everywhere in our store!" Ross said.It doesn't hurt that Swift's sudden Kansas City-ubiquity coincides with two major events in the Swiftaverse: The Eras Tour film, which has already grossed nearly $130 million since opening on October 12, and her rerecording of 1989 — her wildly successful official foray into pop.Kansas City's Union Station movie theater told Insider it's already sold over 7,300 tickets to the Eras Tour movie playing on its extra-large "Extreme Screen."Kansas City's Union Station movie theater decorated for the Eras tour film.Courtesy of Union StationDonutology, a local donut store, saw "a significant surge of business" when they launched Eras Tour themed donuts timed to Swift's arrival in Kansas City, according to marketing director Abby Meyer.They brought those donuts back to mark the opening of the Eras Tour film."These promotions have been especially successful thanks to Taylor's recent visits to Kansas City for Chiefs games to watch her favorite tight end," Meyer wrote in a statement to Insider. "You bet Donutology's creative team has product ideas on the drawing board to participate in 'Tayvis' fever soon!"Eras Tour donuts from Donutology.Courtesy of DonutologyMeanwhile, Dolce Bakery — a locally-owned small business — started baking up Taylor Swift-themed cakes to mark her arrival for the Eras Tour.They haven't really stopped since; owner Erin Brown estimated that they've sold somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 cakes, with a "ton" of orders already set for Friday's 1989 Taylor's Version release.The cakes were the brainchild of the bakery's creative director Katlyn Howard, a huge Swiftie who essentially did a riff on the bakery's Valentine's Day heart cakes.Those took off, as has the bakery's social media — another example of the Swift effect on Kansas City."That's brought in new customers, which is always fun and always a goal to serve more of our community in that way," Brown said."I mean, boosted sales are a dream for a small business."Some of Dolce Bakery's Tayvis cakes.Courtesy of Dolce BakeryA new eraOf course, it's unclear how long the Swift bump will last. While recent history shows that everything Swift touches turns to economic gold, the frenzy might calm a bit if she becomes a more permanent fixture in Kansas City.Already, local businesses are experiencing another byproduct of interacting with a superstar: Balancing PR with a need for privacy.Local barbecue joint Jack Stack reportedly catered Kelce's post-game victory party; when reached by Insider, a Jack Stack representative said they were unable to respond due to an NDA.Similarly, Fortunati Pizza — which reportedly may have been bought out or rented by Kansas City's newest golden couple — wouldn't provide any more details.An Argentine steakhouse Swift and Kelce reportedly dined at on October 23rd wouldn't confirm or deny the couple's visit and wouldn't comment on Swift's impact on their business.But there might be a more long-term shift.Visit KC said that, anecdotally, Swift's time in Kansas City has caught the eye of international travel media and travel industry professionals.Patrick Joyce, the director of sales at Kansas City's swanky Raphael Hotel, told Insider that the hotel has been busy this Chiefs season."When you're in the lobby and listening to people talk about things that are going on, Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift are also often one of the common topics by incoming people," Joyce said. When people sit in the stands of the game, or dine at the same restaurants as Taylor and Travis, "they kind of feel like they're a part of it," he said.Indeed, Lonely Planet included Kansas City on its list of top destinations to visit in 2024 released on Thursday."Suddenly in the international spotlight after Taylor Swift's appearance at the Chiefs football game, Kansas City is on our radar for lots of reasons," the travel guide wrote in its blurb on Kansas City.Beyond Taylor, they praise a new airport terminal, a streetcar extension, and a growing entertainment district.While Swift is not single-handedly responsible for the Kansas City renaissance, her presence is currently being felt in the wallets and streets of Kansas City.After all, who knows if she never showed up, what could've been?Are you a Swiftie considering visiting Kansas City, or attending your first football game?Contact these reporters at [email protected] and [email protected].

Subscribe To Our NewsLetter