DES MOINES -- This won't attempt to bridge the great cultural divide of our time between those who watch Duck Dynasty and those who don't.
"Duck" merchandise is predicted to keep flying off store shelves, despite (or because of) the kerfuffle over remarks by the family patriarch, Phil Robertson, and his suspension from the show by A&E. In an interview with GQ, Robertson called homosexuality a sin and claimed that the blacks he worked with before the Civil Rights era were happy.
Every time consumers pivoted their shopping carts this holiday season, they ran into Duck Dynasty bobbleheads, Chia pets, clothing, wine and, yes, hunting supplies. An Iowa company has also benefited from the ratings hit.
Hans Wilz of Ottumwa, and his company, Great Ideas LLC, helped create Duck Dynasty-scented candles that are sold across the country, including at Hallmark, Gander Mountain and Gordmans stores.
Wilz declined to disclose sales numbers, but he called the candles a "huge success" since they went on sale in July and have become his company's best-selling product yet.
He's been talking to retailers since the controversy and has heard no backlash yet - only "heightened awareness" by consumers of the brand, he said.
"Most people like the fact that (the show) is real. Phil is real," Wilz said. "Most people are OK with that."
At least one retailer has been caught in the crossfire: Cracker Barrel pulled Duck Dynasty products from its shelves last week, then restored them two days later after customer outrage.
"Most people who are buying the brand, they are like-minded to Phil anyway," he said. "That demographic is not offended by what he said."
Great Ideas is a design and sourcing company that has made its name producing dinnerware sets and other private-label products for Bass Pro and Gander Mountain. A&E asked the company to come up with Duck Dynasty products.
Wilz prefers to source products from American-made manufacturers, and he turned to Woodford Wicks, a family-owned candle maker in Kentucky.
The candles come in six scents: Duck Call, Grassy Creek, Swamp Water, Si's Iced Tea, Road Kill and the most popular, Duck Fart. (That one smells of "apples, raspberries and pineapple underlined by hints of lemongrass, clove and flora," according to DuckDynastyCandle.com.)
"You may not like the name, but you're going to talk about it," Wilz said.
His company is working on other Duck Dynasty products, including backyard games that A&E has approved, Wilz said. He tries to create "lifestyle gifts" that go beyond novelty items.
"Duck Dynasty" is about a family business, a theme with which Wilz can relate. His parents emigrated from Germany and opened Edd, the Florist in Ottumwa in 1956. Wilz now owns the store.
"We're a small-town company in Ottumwa," Wilz said. "We're glad to still be part of Americana."
Lynn Hicks, Des Moines Register