Video: FDNY and NYPD become brand names

updated 9/12/2006 8:08:48 PM ET 2006-09-13T00:08:48

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York City Police and Fire Departments became bigger than household names. To some, they became fashion icons.

Like many others, September 11th changed Noam Freedman’s life. Selling New York police and firefighter gear for a decade, he wasn’t prepared for what would come.

“ It would have been a nice quiet day, with a handful of customers, enough to pay the bills. Maybe, a little left over. But, following September 11, it was chaos. We literally had people out the door, down the block and around the corner waiting in line to get into the store. It didn’t matter what it was – a mug or a cup or a t-shirt or cap. People wanted to show their support”, said Freedman.

Merchandise licensed by the city’s marketing arm, which took over the NYPD and FDNY marks shortly before September 11th, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties earmarked for charity. Bloomingdale’s New York flagship store even devoting a section to the items.

“I think the images they saw on TV, the firefighters at that time becoming America’s heroes, and they wanted to be a part of it”, said Sacramento Firefighter, Billy Lewis.

Today, fifteen companies currently make NYPD and FDNY licensed products. The city nabs others producing counterfeits, forcing them to pay retroactive royalties. But, Freedman says that five years later, business is slowing down to pre-9/11 levels and that’s fine with him.

“My family considered that blood money. I would have been more than happy to keep it a cottage industry”, said Freedman.

© 2012 CNBC, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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