By Drew Olson Special to Published Mar 06, 2008 at 4:04 AM

Jeff Lemieux has heard the question a few times in the past few days, but it still makes him laugh.

Are you going to retire, too?

As the owner of Jeff's Sports, the sports memorabilia business he started in 1983, Lemieux has long been associated with Packers quarterback Brett Favre and is licensed as an official distributor of autographed Favre merchandise, a distinction he has held for more than a decade.

When Favre decided to retire from the National Football League this week, longtime friends and customers began asking Lemieux if he considered hanging it up as well.

"I'm thinking about it," Lemieux said, chuckling. "The reason I got into the business in the first place was so I wouldn't have to work too hard. Now, it looks like I'm going to have to start."

The hard work began shortly after news of Favre's retirement broke on Tuesday morning. Phones began ringing. Online inquiries began pouring into the Web site. TV crews arrived.

"It was crazy," Lemieux said. "We had the TV stations out here and they were going live on the news and we'd get a rush of people calling and asking about things they had just seen on TV. It was nuts."

Lemieux sold a good portion of his available inventory of pictures, helmets and jerseys.

"The walls were bare," he said. "If it keeps up, we will be sold out."

Favre memorabilia have been consistent sellers at Lemieux's stores in Brookfield, Menomonee Falls and at Mayfair Mall. Sales tended to spike at Christmas time and near the beginning and end of football season.

"Favre is one of those rare athletes," Lemieux said. "He has broad national appeal and he only signs a certain amount. As an official distributor, all of our items have the official hologram and certificate of authenticity. But, we only get a certain amount of merchandise to sell."

The question now is simple: will there be more? Will Favre take time in retirement to sign items and replace some of the income he loses by not playing football?

"I don't have any inside information," Lemieux said. "We'll have a conference call soon with his agent to figure out what the next step is going to be. But, I wouldn't be shocked if he stopped signing, to be honest.

"We've worked with him over the years and he's been great. He's been cordial. He's been on time. He's the best athlete I've ever worked with. But, he hates to sign. Now that he's done playing, it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't do any more."

If Favre stops signing items, the price for existing material will increase. Lemieux didn't raise his prices this week -- many items were available for around $200 -- but that could change.

"It's supply and demand," Lemieux said. "Things could triple in price. We just don't know what's going to happen."

Favre mini helmets sell for about $200. Authentic helmets are about $500. Framed authentic jerseys are about $1,500.

"People are looking for good stuff and that's what we have," Lemieux said. "I just don't know how long we're going to have it or how much more we're going to get."

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.