The company’s products have been featured in several high profile events, including a presidential inauguration and at Times Square on New Year’s Eve. But the half time show at Super Bowl LI on Sunday night provided the biggest stage in the company’s history.
Posey County-based Band Shoppe, a division of Pearison Inc., manufactures and sells a litany of marching band and color guard-related products. One of its products called the AirBlade was used by the background performers at the half time show in Houston, Texas.
Chris Payne, the company’s marketing manager, said a Nashville-based company approached a Pearison sales representative, inquiring into the company’s AirBlade product. However, the company couldn’t detail what the AirBlades would be used for.
Payne, however, had a hunch.
“The way the [company’s sales rep] was talking to me, it was like he wanted to tell me but he didn’t. There were some times and some dates discussed and I kind of put two-and-two together,” Payne said. “The Super Bowl was the only thing happening at that time that seemed that big. “It was one of those things that kind of caught us off guard because we didn’t want to get our hopes up that it was the for the Super Bowl. Obviously, we knew it was for something big but we didn’t want to have it not happen.”
It happened, all right.
Performers spun and threw the AirBlades, which were fit with multi-colored LED lights, high into the air. They resembled pinwheels as they danced and twirled in the dark. Payne and other company officials were impressed and elated.
“I think it’s any company’s dream to have something featured on the biggest stage in the world,” Payne said. ” When we all saw that last night, we said, ‘we need to talk about this.”
The company developed the AirBlade in 2008 as a more durable alternative to the rifle or saber props used by color guards for decades. The product has been a hit, Payne said, and will only grow in popularity following the Super Bowl appearance.
The show could also lead to further modifications for the AirBlade.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from people wanting to have their AirBlades modified with light technology,” Payne said. That’s something we’re hoping to bring to our customers this coming year or next year.”
Band Shoppe started in 1976 as a small instrument repair operation. It now employs around 100 people, 70 of those work in the company’s manufacturing facility near the Posey-Vanderburgh County line. Having a product featured in the Super Bowl will certainly have a place in the company’s storied history, Payne said.
“We’re just a small company out of Poseyville, Indiana,” Payne said. “It’s very humbling when you get to see something on the biggest stage in the world.”