Since taking over as quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick has come to be an icon in his hometown of Turlock. More than an inspirational sports figure, he has also been a boost to the local economy. From signature dishes, Kaep-inspired treats and even clothing, Turlock has become the epicenter of Kaepernick mania.
Downtown Turlock boasts a variety of options for 49er fans looking to spruce up their playoff party. Those with a sweet tooth won’t have to look far as Lisa’s Cookie Jar in downtown Turlock offers a host of Kaepernick-inspired treats. From number seven jerseys to 49er helmets, footballs, and football field cookie pops, kids and adults alike can enjoy the cookies as they cheer on Kaepernick on Sunday. However, pre-orders are suggested since the Kaepernick cookies sell out quickly, especially once they are posted on the Lisa’s Cookie Jar Facebook page.
“As a Turlocker, we’re very proud of him, obviously,” said Lisa Fernandez, owner of Lisa’s Cookie Jar. “It’s helped business tremendously. It has brought a lot of people in, a lot of people who didn’t know we were here before and a lot of people from out of town. We like to show off that Colin is from our town. It’s pretty awesome.”
Main Street Footers, a local hotdog restaurant that has been a staple of the downtown Turlock scene for years, decided to honor the hometown hero by creating a hotdog in Kaepernick’s honor. After hosting a contest last year that sent locals flying to submit recipes to the restaurant, Footer’s finally settled on one lucky local’s recommendation of a foot long hot dog with chili, coleslaw, jalapenos and drizzling of secret Kaepernick sauce.
“It’s been great for Footers. We have a bunch of new customers that come in all the time not just for the Kaepernick, but for everything else we have and it’s been great,” said Molly Amant, a Footer’s employee well accustomed to creating Kaep-dogs for customers.
Kaepernick is not only inspiring signature dishes around Turlock, but clothing as well. Westside Ministries has created several designs of tee-shirts and even a hat to fundraise for summer camp and after-school programs for the children on the westside of Turlock. With a booth in front of the Cost Less grocery store in downtown Turlock for several days, the organization has sold hundreds of shirts since beginning the fundraiser last year. Kaepernick’s personal story of success has encouraged children who look up to him as a source of inspiration.
“His story of being adopted has encouraged our kids to know that wherever you come from in life, there is not hindrance or limit in fulfilling your dreams,” said Lydio Banana, a youth minister at Westside Ministries.