Talking with Rob Kujath about football is like watching a kid scan a holiday toy catalog. His eyes light up and his grin turns infectious as he dreams up elaborate new schemes for having fun...at work, no less. “What’s that movie where Tom Hanks gets to design toys all day?” he asks, pausing for it to come to him. “‘Big’! I’m like Tom Hanks in ‘Big’! I get to try out new things and say, ‘THIS would be really cool.’ I go to the store and hang out on the weekends!”
Kujath’s store is Baillio’s, a two-branch independent retail powerhouse in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., which does $40 million in sales a year. And those “new things” he’s trying are a full roster of football-related promotions, displays, online projects and tricked-out theme rooms that are making hefty contributions to the bottom line.
“Out here, football’s the biggest reason people buy televisions and DirectTV,” said Kujath’s father-in-law, Jack Baillio. “Once preseason begins, sales jump. We’re probably doing as much sports-wise as anyone in the country.”