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In winter, Ravens gear a growing part of plant nursery's business

This is "downseason" for Greenfield's Nursery and Landscaping Co., says general manager Peter Bieneman.

But while fewer people are coming in to buy plants in winter, another aspect of the business is taking off — the sale of Ravens-themed gear and accessories in anticipation of the team's Super Bowl game against the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3..

"We've actually expanded," Bieneman said Jan. 24, surrounded by Ravens banners, cups, knitted caps, gloves, jerseys, purple flamingos and purple lights in the nursery at Falls Road and Northern Parkway. "I've seen so many customers I've never seen in previous years. The majority of our phone calls today have been for purple lights."

"Speaking of purple lights ...," said Philip Burlin, 53, of Mount Washington, who overheard Bieneman talking as he stepped to the counter to buy purple lights in honor of the Ravens. It was the first time he had bought purple lights.

"I'm going to take my Christmas lights down and put my purple lights up," Burlin said.

A sign outside Greenfield's announces, "Superbaugh bound," a play on Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's name. "Get purple lights and Ravens shirts here."

Near the sign stands a blowup Ravens balloon figure, as if guarding the nursery.

Bieneman, of Lake Evesham, said Greenfield's has expanded its Ravens goods in the past five years.

"It fills a void," he said. "That's the business answer."

But there's a personal answer, too.

"We do like to show our support," he said. "There's not an employee here that doesn't at least watch" Ravens games. "My boss (Greenfield's owner Jim McElroy) is a total fanatic."

Bieneman is not normally that big a football fan, but the Super Bowl is changing that

"I like to watch it, but this has gotten me extraordinarily excited," he said. "It's made me more of a fan."

Listening to Burlin talk about planning to watch the game at home, Bieneman nodded his assent.

"I'm going to watch — and pray," he said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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