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Cerritos Firm Strikes Quickly With Dodger Products

Times Staff Writer

Insta Graphic Systems did its best last week to live up to its name.

Barely 1 1/2 hours after the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Oakland Athletics to claim professional baseball’s top prize, the Cerritos company was stamping out Dodger T-shirts and sweat shirts by the bushel.

Insta Graphic began gearing up when the Dodgers needed to but one victory to win the World Seires last Thursday. The company is one of a dozen licensed by major league baseball to produce baseball garments. It is the only such company with headquarters in California.

Owner Herbert A. Wells, 71, said many employees dined and watched the game at nearby restaurants, with instructions to return to work if the Dodgers won.

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The Dodgers did, and the employees worked from 10 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Friday, churning out 2,880 garments per hour. Through Monday, the company produced up to 144,000 garments, said marketing director Janet A. Wells, the owner’s daughter.

Interested buyers, including J. C. Penney Co. Inc. representatives, lined up early Friday outside Insta Graphic’s office to pick up the merchandise so they could have it on the shelves when stores opened, Janet Wells said. The company only sells to retailers and distributors, but made one exception--delivering a T-shirt Friday afternoon to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

The T-shirts and sweat shirts, which in one form or another proclaimed the Dodgers as champions of baseball, sold quickly. Retailers were selling the T-shirts for up to $15 and the sweat shirts for up to $25, she said.

“Everybody I know can’t keep it in stock,” said Manuel L. Townes, owner of Nurene Marketing Co., who Monday afternoon made a second trip to Insta Graphic to pick up 432 garments to sell to companies that have in-house stores for employees. While he was there, Townes ordered another 864 garments.

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As a fan and a businessman, Herbert Wells was rooting for the Dodgers. Had Oakland won, the company would have distributed T-shirts and sweat shirts proclaiming the A’s as champions, but the company would not have been able to deliver them as quickly, he said.

Under the terms of its contract, Insta Graphic pays a royalty for each item sold and must submit its designs to baseball officials for approval, Janet Wells said. The World Series designs have been ready for two months, she said, adding that all that remained was to add the winner’s name.

Insta Graphic also does contract printing for clothing manufacturers and school teams, produces artwork and its own apparel lines, and manufactures machines that press the artwork onto the garments.


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