By Tayah Harper
UJW Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Adam Mayhew serves a customer as many others wait patiently in the long line. Most of the customers are waiting to buy just a shirt, while others were buying a bag, mug, hat, or other item. All these items will represent someone’s trip, whether long or short, to the April 12 Cherry Blossom Festival. It is Mayhew’s job to make sure these items get sold before the day is over.
Mayhew started his hectic day at 4 a.m. He arrived at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue by 5 a.m. to set up the merchandise stand.
“The boss has a great relationship with the Cherry Blossom Festival,” Mayhew said. “That’s why he has the only company to sell official merchandise.”
The company, whose CEO was not named, has been a successful vendor for five years now. It first started off as a small business with t-shirt printing. Eventually, they expanded and landed a deal with the Cherry Blossom Festival.
“At first, he was working in two offices and a warehouse in Virginia. Now he has offices in California and a warehouse Atlanta,” Mayhew said. “For the festival, he gets people he trusts to work for him. He knows they’ll get the job done.”
The top selling items at the vendor are the 100th Year Anniversary Shopping Tote, Head Boppers, and the “I Blossom DC” t-shirt.
“I bought the head boppers for my daughter,” Isabelle Felder said. “This is her first time coming to the parade and I want her to have something to remember.”
“My husband is in the Army and we travel a lot. I wanted to make sure my daughter had a chance to visit while we were here. In addition to that, I wanted to get her a souvenir for when we move again,” Felder said.
Damien Lucas, who is from Henrico, VA, loves the festival and one particular shirt.
“I got a great shirt for my fiancé,” Lucas said. “It reads “I Blossom D.C.” and I’m sure she’ll love it as much as I do.”
It was a great day for sales, as the parade occurred during peak bloom, which attracted more attendants.
“I was happy to see the cherry blossoms, which are the obvious stars of the festival,” Lucas said. “When they’re in bloom and the weather is nice, they’re beautiful. It was just an overall great day.”