Filling A Void In A Local Team Market
Taking advantage of local conditions, including the sale of Johnny Mac’s and Nill Bros. to BSN Sports, the owner of St. Louis-based soccer specialty store Soccer Master has taken the unusual (these days) step to expand into becoming a full-line team dealer. The formation of the separate Arch Team Sports (“Arch” because of the St. Louis Arch, of course) business by David Brcic is somewhat of a unique event in the business of team sports, so Team Insight reached out to Brcic to get some insight into the reasons behind the expansion and how he plans to adapt to the different challenges of selling all team sports.
The Background… Soccer Master was established in 1978 in St. Louis by David Brcic’s father, Emil, as one of the first soccer specialty stores in the United States. It currently has locations in St. Louis, Kansas City and Des Moines, IA. Brcic himself had a 13-year professional career as a goalkeeper for the New York Cosmos and the U.S. Olympic and National Teams and then five years in the MISL after the demise of the NASL.
Soccer Master took advantage of the sale of local team dealers to expand into Arch Team Sports.
Team Insight: You were already selling into some team sports and now Arch Team Sports formalizes that effort. Why do that now?
Brcic: We have been servicing other sports for decades, but with the loss of a number of our locally owned team dealers we heard from customers that there was now a void, as so many customers prefer to deal locally with a company and people they know and trust.
What strengths are you bringing from Soccer Master into other team sports?
One major strength is that we are family-owned and local. Our customers have my cell phone number and they know that we are here for them at any time. We have developed a business based solely on service and repeat business. We can make decisions quickly and have phenomenal support from our vendors — and we’ve be doing this for over 43 years.
How does your soccer specialty experience translate into team sports?
We have developed so much production capacity servicing our large soccer organizations in a short delivery window that now we are more than ready to take on new business. This is especially true since some of the other sports fall into our non-peak production windows.
Did the selling of Johnny Mac’s to BSN factor into the decision to expand?
Losing great local companies like Johnny Mac’s and Nill Brothers (both of which were sold to BSN Sports) obviously created a void in the marketplace. We believe their absence opened the door for Arch Team Sports, enabling us to work with customers with that same local and personal service they have become used to and deserve.
One major strength is that we are family-owned and local. Our customers have my cell phone number and they know that we are here for them at any time.
What will be the unique challenges of selling, say, baseball, basketball and football compared to soccer?
Just fully understanding the unique needs of each sport the way we do soccer. But there is nothing unique about selling or servicing.
The large club business is where your strength lies. So how will the school business factor into your game plan?
The school business will always be a part of what we do. It is the simplest and easiest to execute and we currently service schools all across the country. Our competitive advantage lies in club business because our 43 years of experience has provided us the knowledge of the complexities of that business. We also understand that every member of that club is our customer and has their own high expectations too, as well as the coach or AD.
What vendors are you able to sell into team sports?
Fortunately for us we have great relationships and capabilities with all of the major brands here in the U.S. This allows us to be an advocate for our customers in their dealings with them.
Finally, what are the long-term plans for Arch Team Sports?
We are planning for controlled growth, but at the same time remaining loyal to the principles we were founded on — great relationships and great service.