Several years ago, the mother of a Staples athlete volunteered to help sell team t-shirts as a fundraiser. Naturally, she went on the internet; isn’t that where you find the best deals?
Sure enough, internet vendors sold shirts for $3.49. But — surprise! — there were other charges: design, set-up, shipping, you name it.
So the team mom checked out Athletic Shoe Factory. Though hers was a low-profile item — nothing like the high-volume gear bought by Westport Soccer Association or PAL football players — manager Chris Buchner spent hours helping the mom with the entire process. She received more patient help from Tim Nash, ASF’s designer (and a Staples grad) who’s earned praise from teams in countless sports, at many levels.
Recently, I saw ASF’s magic first hand. Traditionally the Staples soccer captains design their team t-shirt. Tim worked with our captains to create a compelling look. It was great on the computer screen — but when the shirts came in they didn’t look right. Without waiting for a complaint, Chris initiated a fast re-order. The replacement shirts were in by the start of tryouts.
The start of fall sports — and Homecoming — are crazy times for ASF. Teenagers order mind-boggling custom shirts and hoodies. Meanwhile, stressed-out parents and little kids clamor for shoes, shorts and equipment. ASF is a scene of controlled chaos. The staff is always cheerful, never harried — and very helpful.
ASF is the 1st business to buy a program ad, donate a raffle prize or do whatever is asked. The response is the same: “We’re happy to help. What else do you need?”
No, ASF’s t-shirts are not $3.49. Then again, neither are the $3.49 t-shirts on the internet.
And when was the last time any web vendor cared about Westport kids?
A sample of the logowear designed and sold by ASF.