UH Urges Warrior Fans to Buy Official Merchandise

Alan Ohara
Alan Ohara
Brandan Kop
Brandan Kop

OAHU (KHNL) -- Vendors caught selling unofficial University of Hawaii merchandise could face criminal charges.

The University says it has received reports of people selling unlicensed Sugar Bowl gear and is urging Warrior fans to buy official UH products.

At Kop Distributors, the largest local distributor of official UH merchandise, workers are still out at night, putting in long hours just to keep up with the Warrior fever.

All UH gear there is licensed. How can you tell? Workers stick two distinct labels unlicensed vendors don't carry.

From 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 midnight seven days a week, employees at Kop Distributors have been working non-stop to keep up with Warrior fans' Sugar Bowl demands.

"Since December fourth, no days off and about 14 to 16 hour days just trying to fill the orders, just trying to catch up," said Kop salesperson, Alan Ohara.

"What we sell in one day, we probably sold the whole year back then," said owner Brandan Kop.

Brandan has had a license to sell UH gear for 20 years. Brandan says if a garment doesn't have a particular red tag or a hologram sticker, it's not officially licensed by UH.

"They have a hologram system now which is very hard to counterfeit and it's all numbered," said Brandan.

A portion of proceeds from licensed merchandise goes to the University so selling unofficial products is not only illegal, it hurts UH.

As a UH alum who was on a golf scholarship, it's an issue that Brandan feels strongly about.

"If you go to stores and they're buying unlicensed products, they're getting nothing out of it. And I think they're cheating the University of Hawaii that way and that's the part people don't realize," he said.

For those wondering if there's enough UH gear for Warrior fans, Brandan says they have 200,000 shirts, which should be enough to last until the Sugar Bowl.

What you see at Kop's headquarters is only 15% of their inventory. Brandan says their warehouse was overflowing with UH merchandise, so they had to rent out multiple storage spaces at various locations to fit all their products.