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Update: Over the course of the month, Stateside collected 352 Ben Simmons jerseys. They were donated to a shelter in Brooklyn, here’s video proof.
What do Sixers fans with Ben Simmons jerseys do now that the pouting All Star has finally been traded? If you bought it within the last year using AmEx, the NBA is running a promo where you can swap it out, but a local distillery has a better option.
Anyone who brings their outdated Sixers No. 25 wear to Stateside Vodka in Kensington will receive a $25 gift card in trade. The offer is good now through the end of the month.
Once the local spirits company has collected all the goods, they’ll donate the clothing to a shelter in Brooklyn, Simmons’ new home.
“We thought, ‘We don’t want to just burn these, what else can we do with them?’ ” explained Eddy McGehean, director of operations for Federal Distilling, which makes Stateside. He said the idea first came from one of the sales reps in Maryland.
The team batted around several possibilities, including cutting up the jerseys and donating them to the PSPCA or other animal rescue operation for use as bedding, before settling on the plant to donate them to people in need.
“I reached out to a shelter in Brooklyn called ‘The Kensington,’ ” McGehean said. “We’re in Kensington, so it just made sense.”
He hasn’t yet heard back from that operation, which offers temporary housing for NYC families, but if it’s not a fit — if they’re only accepting kids or women’s clothing, for example — he’ll find a different spot.
Stateside, which brothers Matt and Bryan Quigley launched in 2015 after developing the product in their parents’ basement, is known for quirky marketing that supports the community. Each June it releases a rainbow-labeled “Love Is Love” bottle for Pride Month, and it’s a supporter of Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation.
Pretty much everyone who works at Stateside is a diehard Philly sports fan, McGehean said, and the company’s group chat was on fire when news broke Thursday about the Sixers trade.
“We want to love our athletes here. But we had this player here in Ben Simmons that, for whatever reason, it didn’t seem like he liked our city. It was painful,” said the 33-year-old Delco native. “Then you have James Harden, a premiere, top 5 player who actually wants to come here…it was like this perfect storm of happiness.”
During the pandemic, Federal Distilling pivoted to direct-to-consumer sales, repurposing bar staff into delivery drivers instead of laying people off. It also launched several canned cocktails, including the new, non-carbonated, lightly sweetened iced tea.
There’s also an ecommerce store, which can ship anywhere in Pa., New Hampshire, or Washington DC. Stateside now retails in those states plus Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, with distribution in Florida and Georgia starting March 1.
The bar and restaurant at 1700 N. Hancock St., just north of Cecil B. Moore, reopened for business last weekend for the first time in two years, McGehean said.
You can drop off your Ben Simmons jersey with a bartender there anytime it’s open — 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday — or bring it to the same location during weekday work hours and hand it to someone at the distillery’s offices.
In addition to a $25 bonus for future food and drink, you’ll rest easy knowing your Simmons jersey is on its way to doing more good than its namesake did the entire first half of the season.