COLUMBIA — Satterfield's Jewelry Warehouse for decades offered one of the most popular promotional items in Columbia: Free stickers given away at its jewelry and team apparel stores on game weekends that urged the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to "Beat Georgia," "Beat Florida" or whatever that week's opponent happened to be.
Every fall football weekend the stickers appeared on thousands of T-shirts, blouses, lapels and tank tops, popping up like mushrooms.
"That was an iconic thing that has gone on forever," said Perry Lancaster, longtime manager of Britton's menswear store.
But as USC kicks off its season Saturday, Jewelry Warehouse and its sports stores both are closed, however, after the company had its retail license revoked in May by the state Department of Revenue for tax liens totalling more than $500,000.
The doors to its stores have not opened since, and its license remains under suspension.
Others around Columbia also are stepping up to offer Gamecock game day stickers including:
- The USC Alumni Center located near campus in Columbia's Vista will offer free stickers this fall.
- The Addam's University Bookstore near USC will offer free stickers this fall for the first time on a first-come, first-served basis, said manager Linda Cheek.
- Irmo gift shop Kathy's Kreations will offer free game day stickers for both USC and Clemson fans, according to the store's Facebook page.
- Maurice's Piggie Park barbecue restaurants will have stickers to give away at all its restaurants for both USC and Clemson supporters.
- Swamp Cabbage Brewing will have stickers to sell at 2 for $1 this Thursday with special slogans related to the team such as "Black Magic."
USC's Alumni Center will be working with alumni clubs to distribute the stickers at all USC games including the opener this weekend in Charlotte versus North Carolina, association chief executive Wes Hickman said.
The passion of the Gamecock fanbase is shown by how common a site the stickers are all across Columbia on game weekends as the excitement for football builds, Hickman said.
"Whether you're wearing a uniform, a suit or a golf shirt, you can wear that sticker," he said.
The Gamecock game day stickers were a highly visible tradition since Jewelry Warehouse began giving them away in the 1980s, with fans frequently stopping by the store locations to grab a strip of free stickers to pass out to friends.
It made sports a key part of its business, adding stores called Garnet And Black Traditions and Tiger Paw Traditions to serve USC and Clemson fans respectively.
Since the doors were shut abruptly in May, Jewelry Warehouse has been working to give customers items that they had ordered or dropped off for repair. In recent days, the company said on its Facebook page that it is able to return items again after being locked out of its stores for a time.
Before the revocation of its license, the company had reduced its locations to just two. Weighed down by debt that led to lawsuits, according to court records, the company had closed other stores in recent years including one in the popular Harbison shopping district last year.