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El Pollo Loco Delves Into Merch, Online Retail

Count fire-grilled chicken chain El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) among the latest non-apparel companies to get into the merch business to bolster branding.

The chain, which counts more than 480 restaurants, unveiled last week its online shop, Loco Gifts and Gear.

Members of the company’s Loco Rewards loyalty program had early access to the store Dec. 2, a day before it officially opened to the rest of the public.

El Pollo Loco launched the shop with exclusive tote bags, boardshorts, trucker hats, T-shirts, skateboards, a surfboard and lowrider bike featuring the work of local artists David Flores, a skateboard designer and muralist; Rick Massie, who became the first Mexican-American pro surfer after nabbing a Quiksilver sponsorship in 1985; and Compton maker of custom bikes Manny Silva.

El Pollo Senior Vice President of Marketing Andy Rebhun said the merchandise assortment reflects the company’s “L.A. Mex heritage.”

El Pollo Loco joins a growing roster of restaurant chains locally that have rolled out merchandise, including Newport Beach-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG), Taco Bell Corp. of Irvine and Lake Forest-based Del Taco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TACO).

Outside of food, electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: RIVN) of Irvine recently launched its own online shop, stocked with vehicle accessories, hats, T-shirts and pullovers, coinciding with its IPO last month. 

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