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Who Loves Some CTA Swag? Lots of People, it Turns Out

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 29, 2014 7:20PM

2014_1_29_CTAGIFTS.jpg If you've ever browsed the CTA’s online gift store and wondered “who buys this stuff?” you might be surprised to find out that, we’ll, lots of people do. In fact, last year the CTA sold over $82,000 worth of merch. The bulk of the items were purchased by people in Illinois, although the CTA has fans in New York and California, which had the second and third highest sales of transit-themed swag.

According to DNAInfo Chicago the wooden bus, wooden train and system-map poster were among the top-selling items. But the always-popular CTA system-map shower curtain (which is also available at Bed, Bath and Beyond and sometimes at Urban Outfitters) made the list as well.

While the bulk of the sales come through the CTA gift store website, about five percent came through a vending machine installed at CTA headquarters on Lake Street. The machine, which was installed last year, sells many of the same items as the website. The vending machine has been successful enough that the agency is looking at establishing more around the city, according to Lambrini Lukidis, CTA spokeswoman.

The website is operated by Image Exchange, Inc., which also operates similar online gift shops for New York and Washington, DC’s transit agencies. As part of the arrangement the CTA receive a royalty of 12 percent of the sales, or a guaranteed minimum payout, whichever is greater.