This article was originally published on TimesFreePress.com.
There’s very little sorrow spreading around the Old Tasso Road office of Hardwick Clothes for Jake Cremer, who is entrenched most of this month in pleasant, Brazilian resort town Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics.
Cremer, director of brand and strategy at the Cleveland-based men’s suit maker, arrived in Rio late last week and is on hand to represent Hardwick in person, as NBC on-air talent wear the Cleveland company’s clothing during broadcasts from this year’s games.
Brazil is in the middle of its winter right now, but temperatures there are in the Tennessee-pleasant 70s and 80s. With several open-air sets and the specter of live television (and innumerable possibilities for something to go wrong) Cremer is settled in Rio to sort out issues.
“Whatever is called for gets done,” Cremer said earlier this week.
The Rio games have been much-maligned in the U.S. over an apparent lack of preparation on behalf of Brazil for the mega-sporting event.
But Cremer said the city itself and the climate are as billed: “I think it’s going to be perfect,” he said.
Already, he has helped outfit and style NBC broadcasters such as Al Michaels and Dan Patrick. He’s hoping to, at some point, catch up with Tennessee’s own Charlie Rymer, a relative of the Cleveland founding families.
Cremer called the experience “surreal” — not just being on hand for the summer Olympics, but seeing Cleveland’s own clothing on the international stage.
“To be on NBC for the Rio 2016 Olympics, on 11 networks with 6,700 hours of programming total …” Cremer said. “You really can’t flip through the channels without eventually running across a Hardwick product.”
Cremer insists, despite living in paradise for the next three weeks, it really is all work: 12-hour days, seven days a week.
Plus, “I got a Hardwick jacket on me at all times,” he said.
Bruce Bellusci, president at Hardwick, attended tailored wear trade shows in Chicago earlier this week — the town where he spent decades at well-known suit maker Hart Schaffner Marx — and said all joking aside, Hardwick’s presence at this year’s Olympics and Cremer’s representing the brand are big for the company.
“The opportunity to outfit the NBC announcers for the NBC Olympics is really an amazing thing,” he said.
Bellusci said at shows such as the ones he attended this week, other folks in the tailor-made industry approach him and ask “How did a small company like you guys get this?”
“We’re really pleased about it,” he said.
The airing of the summer Olympics also coincides with the roll out of this year’s new fall Hardwick lines, which are on delivery to retailers now through September.
Now two years into what Bellusci calls a three-year process to turn around Hardwick — which was sold in federal bankruptcy court to Cleveland, Tenn., millionaire Allan Jones in 2014 — this fall is big for the company.
“We kind of look at fall 2016 as the re-launch of the brand,” Bellusci said.
NBC coverage of the opening ceremonies for the Rio Olympics in Brazil begins tonight at 7 p.m.