A partnership several years in the making will have fans of two rival football teams cheering.
Wendell August Forge on Thursday announced a deal with the National Football League, and the first offerings from the product line feature Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns items.
“We’re extremely excited to see this,” said Christian Werner, president of the Springfield Township-based metalware company.
Coasters, bag tags and keychains for both teams can be purchased at the Springfield store, 2074 Leesburg Grove City Road, and the company’s shops in Berlin, Ohio, and at Grove City Premium Outlets.
Those items – available in aluminum and bronze – are also available online, where customers will find more Steelers products including serving trays, ice and champagne buckets, bookmarks, and more, said Alex DeGroff, digital marketing manager.
More Browns products will soon follow, and the line launched just in time for Father’s Day, he said.
“We started setting this stuff up today,” he said on Friday morning, noting the new display at the Springfield store.
Back in the workshop, Mike Youngo, product development director, talked about working with the NFL, which he said is believed to offer one of the world’s largest licensed product lines.
“It’s quite a vetting process,” he said of making sure the logos were just right and the NFL was happy with the end results.
The staff members at NFL and Wendell August worked together on selecting items that they feel will resonate with customers. The functional products like serving trays are typically the most popular, Youngo said.
The NFL saw the opportunity to work with Wendell August as a chance to offer something unique to football fans – quality pieces handmade in the United States that people can enjoy for years to come, DeGroff said.
“This has been sitting in our pipeline for several years,” he said.
Wendell August will eventually make products for all 32 NFL teams with the potential for the items to be sold at the football stadiums, Youngo said.
“This really opens up a whole new avenue,” he said.
DeGroff, Youngo and Werner are all Steelers fans, and they said they like the light switch covers, serving trays, and chip and dip platter.
Many football fans enjoy entertaining; Werner can picture people proudly showing off the Wendell August NFL line or giving them as gifts.
“We’re proud to be a part of their heritage,” he said.
The NFL items can be personalized with custom engravings – one of the reasons that the NFL decided to work with Wendell August, Werner said.
“It’s definitely a gift that means more,” DeGroff said.
Werner added that it took decades for both groups to come together; the NFL is celebrating 100 years this year, and Wendell August marks its 100th anniversary in 2023.
This partnership could take Wendell August national, DeGroff said, noting that the next part of the NFL line will feature the Philadelphia Eagles.
“The buzz is just starting,” he said.
For more information about Wendell August Forge, call 724-748-9500, or visit www.wendellaugust.com