More than $1 billion in new football contracts are expected to be signed in Philadelphia this week as the city hosts the NFL Draft.
But there are smaller profits to be made by vendors roving around Benjamin Franklin Parkway and hoping to squeeze money out of some of the expected 200,000 football fans.
Just ask Sekou Davis, wearing a fedora and a silk button-down featuring a sunglasses–clad Mona Lisa.
“I’m just trying to make an honest buck,” Davis said. “And the sad thing is, sometimes we go through more hell from the authorities than the people who are begging for money,” he said. “Some of them won’t stop giving us heat.”
But for about an hour on Thursday afternoon, the only thing roasting him was the beating sun.
Ample bottles of water (he sometimes sells water bottles, too) fueled his quest for customers, though often they came to him. And when they did, many were receptive to his go-with-us-not-them pitch for his unofficial NFL T-shirts.
“The guy up there on the corner is $20, mine our $15. They’re double-sided. It’s got every single team on it. And this is what they’ll be selling for $45 on the Parkway, to be honest,” Davis said of his T-shirts. “Go ahead, feel them”
“Nice, very nice,” one customer replied.
When the cops shoo them away, however, Davis and his partner Dayvon “DayDay” Woody jump in their minivan and find a new spot to set up. “Hey, you gotta be able to move,” said Woody, who was rocking a custom-made Eagles T-shirt and hat decked out with sparkles.
The duo claim they made $20,000 selling tie-dye pope tees when his holiness was in Philadelphia. If they’re lucky, they say, they’ll make a fifth of that during the NFL draft.
Billy Booth of Collegeville was waiting with his wares on a corner, about a stone’s throw away from City Hall.
“We got some draft shirts that we came down with today to sell, and we also have a few ‘Dallas sucks’ shirts, because we’re in Philly, so why not,” Booth said.
When he and his dad first set up and displayed their T-shirts, a freelance seller approached asking to buy 20 of them to try selling closer to the Parkway.
“We’re gonna think about it,” Booth said. “But right now, we’re gonna stick to the table.”