By Robert S. Strauss

(FORTUNE Small Business) – BREAKTHROUGH This vintage-jersey business scored after Capolino tweaked his offerings to appeal to a younger crowd. Last year sales jumped from $5 million to $25 million.

JERSEY BOY Mitchell & Ness had sold sporting goods for 81 years when Capolino first decided, in 1985, to make replicas of his favorite players' uniforms. Later that year he stopped selling anything else. "I figured my market was 35- to-75-year-old conservative, college-educated, suburban white men," says Capolino, 57. After the rap group Outkast wore his shirt in a 1998 video, Capolino's employees convinced him that they could sell to a young urban market.

OLD SCHOOL Since Capolino started releasing more varieties, his $300 to $500 jerseys have become de rigueur fashion statements for musicians and athletes. High school hoops phenom LeBron James was suspended from playing for one game when he accepted two M&N jerseys from a local Ohio storeowner, and rapper P. Diddy calls Capolino "P. City." "We're selling history here, not just fashion," Capolino says.