Eamon Murphy: From sodas to Sweet 16

 

Thirty years ago, Eamon Murphy couldn’t even sell sodas. Now, he’s the go-to guy for the merchandise of a Sweet 16 team.

One the first day of his vending job at Candlestick Park at the age of 14, he simply wasn’t able to garner up the confidence to sell his soft drinks.  After failing to sell a single soda during the Giants’ batting practice, he forced himself to climb up to the nose-bleed seats and scream out all of his natural timidity. He hasn’t slowed down since.

Murphy, a ’86 graduate of Saint Mary’s College, now runs Gameday Souvenirs, based in Lafayette, CA, and has hit a personal jackpot by selling his alma mater’s apparel at a time when the school is as famous as it has been in years, thanks to the team’s stunning run to the South Region semifinals last month’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Eamon Murphy isn’t your stereotypical salesman, however. He’s a rare breed; he is a people person that’s not pushy and in-your-face cut is someone the general public can appreciate.

“I don’t like when salesmen force me to buy things I don’t want,” Murphy said. “Just be honest and the rest takes care of itself.”

In a world where advertisements are found essentially everywhere and many go to any length to sell one his or her product, Murphy prides himself on a much more modest approach.

“The number one thing to know for sales is to be nice, then to sell,” he said. “I don’t mix that up. I would rather lose the sale than lose the customer.”

Whatever he’s doing, it definitely works.

Realizing there was a lack of merchandise Gaels fans could buy, he proposed an a sales idea to the Saint Mary’s business office and athletic department in 1989 and the next year found himself outside the football stadium selling shirts.

“I knew that day that this was going to work,” he said. “These were products people wanted.”

His biggest payoff by far has been the Gaels’ recent basketball run. While he had to work daunting hours – he spent the night processing orders, slept for a couple of hours, and then return to campus to continue to sell – he sold over 1000 shirts the week the team advanced to the Sweet 16.

“Making the Sweet 16 really jumped us a level regarding athletics and merchandise,” Murphy said. “We’re not on Gonzaga’s level yet but we have now entered that realm. In 20 years that’s never happened.”

If the Gaels can keep up their winning ways for years to come, business will simply continue to boom for the hard-working Murphy. Thirty seconds after the Gaels’ defeated Villanova, he already had Sweet 16 shirts available online. Then the orders just poured in, with over 200 of them within the first two hours.

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