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Suddenly, John Deere is dear

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER Managing editor
There's a new phenomenon and it is John Deere-a name that's very familiar in this small rural town.
John Deere has been around for quite sometime, specializing in mostly tractors. However, the company has now branched out and gotten creative within it's marketing department. Now, you can find John Deere toys, John Deere clothing, even John Deere Housewares.
Type in John Deere on a Web server and a multitude of pages are displayed on the monitor. Walk into a fabric store and order John Deere fabric with tractor logos splashed all over it. Even Urban Outfitters, a trendy store across the nation, carries a John Deere throw for your bed.
Rhonda Strength has been working at Hott Zone since 2003. She said they've been selling the John Deere merchandise like hot cakes.
She said the John Deere paraphernalia arrived in the store almost six months ago. She said she has children who have been eyeing the John Deere merchandise.
Customers can have their pick of shirts that come in a variety of colors including hot pink, green, blue, yellow, light pink, and more. They come in sleeveless shirts or t-shirts. There are also John Deere bumper stickers, tags, dog collars, lunch boxes, back packs and onesies for babies.
Harrelson and her husband Greg have owned the shop since the beginning. The store specializes in a variety of merchandise, but the John Deere merchandise takes up most of the left front window.
Hott Zone's neighbor, Hibbetts also sells the items. Harrelson said she noticed that they appeared to sell out just as quickly also.
To set the store apart from other stores that sell the items, Harrelson's aunt, Pat Salter, put her craft skills to work.
One of the purses has the signature color green on the bottom with a six-inch border around it.
Over at the Farm Center located in East Brewton, they have been specializing in the John Deere equipment for a number of years-longer than worker Misty Chavers is old.
The name brand store will begin to sell the pink apparel in the near future, said Lavon Boutwell.
He said the pink merchandise is "just a passing fad" and each vendor he spoke with didn't keep the pink merchandise in stock like they do the hats. Merchandise typically arrives several weeks after hte purchase order
Chavers said she received a hot pink John Deere shirt for Valentine's Day. However, it won't seem uncharacteristic for her to wear the title shirt since she works in a John Deere store.
So, why pink?
Harrelson summed up the phenomenon quite eloquently.