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CHICAGO -- Convenience stores and retailers are profiting already from the new White House Administration, according to reports.
Chicago-area 7-Elevens, for instance, are selling Jones Soda's Orange "You Glad for Change" Cola, which has President Barack Obama's picture on the label, according to a report by The Southtown Star.
Seattle-based Jones Cola specializes in printing consumers' photo submissions on labels, but this was the first time Jones decided to make a special flavor and put the presidential election winner's image on the bottle's label for the inauguration celebration.
"It's a great collectible," Gaurav Patel, Park Forest 7-Eleven franchise owner, told the paper "After election night, there was such a high demand for newspapers as collectibles."
In addition to the soda, the Park Forest location and many other 7-Eleven stores have elected to also carry Obama plaques, T-shirts, hats, pictures, magazines, and even trading cards.
Since the fairly accurate, yet unscientific 7-Election presidential coffee-cup poll predicted Obama as the presidential winner, demand for Obama memorabilia has been on the rise at stores.
According to one store manager, Tushar "Tony" Pandya, the coffee cup poll had Obama leading by 20 percent for the month-long 7-Election campaign in October, which invited Americans to pour their favorite hot beverages into either blue 20-ounce cups for Obama or red 20-ounce cups for McCain.
Seattle-based Fran's Chocolates also is scrambling to meet demand for Obama-related products. President Obama's love of salted caramels from Fran's Chocolates has the chocolatier racing to fill orders, according to a report in The Seattle Times. Salted-caramel production is up 50 percent this month.
Last spring, Fran Bigelow learned through a newspaper article that Obama loves her salted caramels. More news outlets picked it up, sending demand so high that Fran's Chocolates on East Pike Street has scaled back production of pre-Valentine's truffles and chocolate hearts to make room for more caramels.
This month, salted-caramel production is up to more than 18,000 pieces a day. "It's impossible to determine how much is due to the Obama connection and the inauguration," Bigelow said. Whatever the reason, she has yet to catch up with demand.
One customer sent the caramels to the White House, although Bigelow is not sure the candies got through security, and batches have been ordered for inauguration parties in Washington, D.C.
Dominique Evans, whose company Create the Vision Source is organizing the Shades of Blue Inaugural Gala in Washington D.C., ordered 800 pieces each of Barack and Michelle Obama's favorites, milk-chocolate-covered caramels with smoked salt and dark-chocolate covered caramels with gray salt, respectively.