We'll get back to writing about those TV commercials soon. But one thing we'll do a little more of here in 2012 is introduce you to the people behind our business. There's no better place to start than our stores and our store managers. I started here in March of 2010 here in Marketing and before that, I've largely held internet/marketing jobs. I hadn't worked in a retail store since 1993, when I stocked frozen & dairy food at the local Supermarket while I was in college in Kent, Ohio. I'm not sure that even counts as retail. If you want to talk TRUE retail, you'd have rewind it back even further to 1989, when I worked in a record store at a mall in Central Massachusetts.
So I haven't necessarily forgotten what working in a retail environment was like, but it had been a while - and Pure Hockey is a totally different retail animal than anything I've ever seen before. These are not $9.99 albums or eggs and milk. We're talking about hundreds - and sometimes thousands - of dollars of people's money here.
Anyway, long-story-short, I've developed a huge respect for the guys and gals out there who manage and work in our stores. It is a hard job. Yes, there are slow periods, as with any retail store, but when you see it enough and even experience it, you can't help but have a deep appreciation for what these guys endure and go through.
Anyway, we want to open the doors and introduce you to some of our staff. We're gonna start as far south as Pure Hockey goes (right now), down in Fairfield, New Jersey. Our newest store, the Fairfield shop is roughly 15,000 square feet and opened in July of 2010. I'm only speaking for myself here, but I believe the Fairfield store is our best looking store in the chain. This can be attributed to our Manager of Store Operations, Marc Pino, who you'll meet in a later blog post. He had a fairly blank slate to build in that space and he chose wisely - nice floors, good colors, excellent lighting and fine touches all around.
You can see some pictures of our Fairfield store right here.
The New Jersey crew is a rock solid gang of hockey nuts and New Jersey Devils fans (our sympathies, hehehhee) and the store manager down there is Joe Carlino, who has managed the opening of the store (complete with inevitable setbacks) and its superb growth for the last year-and-a-half. We took a few minutes to ask Joe some quick questions about his experience at the store, what gear he wears and some other stuff too. Enjoy.
1. How did you first get into the game of hockey?
I've been involved in hockey since I can remember. I wish I could give a specific incident that made me love the game as much as I do, but I can't remember one.
2. What’s the biggest difference for you regarding hockey equipment from when you were a kid vs. the gear available today?
The technology and performance of the gear today is light years ahead of where it was when I was a kid. The composite stick is a great example.
3. What are you using for gear these days? Anything you’re dying to try out?
I skate out sometimes, but I usually play goal. I also own way too much hockey equipment, but this is what I'm using most of the time:
- Brian's Subzero pads, gloves, blocker
- Vaughn 7600 c/a and breezers
- Promasque XDK, Hackva, or Eddy Custom Kevlar mask.
- I usually use a 9950 (p41, 26") stick, but I've been trying out some composites to see if I can get used to them.
- Vapor XXXX pro stock gloves
- Unidentifiable CCM elbows, shins, and breezers (I've had them for the better part of a decade, and I can't find a logo to give you a model- they wore off)
- One80 skates
One of my favorite parts of the job is getting to see the new gear before it hits the stores. I love the opportunity to demo anything, but I'd really like to try out some Reebok goalie gear.
4. What was your first impression of Pure Hockey when you first saw a store?
Haha...I hadn't seen anything like it! When I went for my original interview, the New Jersey store was still under construction. I couldn't believe a store that size could be just for hockey equipment. When I went up to Massachusetts to be trained and walked into the Berlin store for the first time, I think I realized this was definitely the right job for me.
5. What was the last thing you laughed really hard at?
The Devils game last night - they let up 6 goals on 14 shots. Sometimes, you have to just have to laugh!