While a lot of Rhode Island-based businesses are moving operations to Massachusetts, Gary Goldberg is doing just the opposite.
Goldberg is in the process of transforming the one-time iconic but long-vacant 34,000-square foot building that once housed the Eclipse Coffee Syrup Company into a state-of-the-art retail and wholesale sports apparel business in Warwick.
SquadLocker, which is a spinoff of Goldberg’s owned and operated Turfer Athletic, will make its home at 240 Bald Hill Road and pride itself in providing customized athletic and team outer wear, uniforms and gear from the youth to collegiate levels of sport.
“The new corporate facility combines all of their design, fulfillment, distribution and administrative functions into one efficient space,” said Jeffrey S. Deckman, CEO of Capability Accelerators. “SquadLocker also features a retail store that offers the best customized on-and-off-the-field team apparel and gear available for every season.”
SquadLocker, which plans to educate people in purchasing a myriad of sports apparel, will offer such name brands as Nike Golf, Adidas, Champion, Sport-Ted and of course Turfer Athletic in the retail store.
Deckman said Turfer Athletic has become a leading supplier of outerwear and team apparel solutions for teams, dealers, colleges, high schools and club teams and is expected to become an even larger operation with more community impact because of its move to Rhode Island.
“The vision,” Deckman predicted, “is for SquadLocker to become the hub for purchasing a variety of sports apparel right here in Rhode Island.”
When asked why he decided to relocate his entire operation to the Ocean State, Goldberg said, “I didn’t want to pay rent [in Massachusetts] anymore.”
With his purchase of the building that once housed the Eclipse operation and the fact that Turfer Athletic and SquadLocker will consolidate its operation under one roof, Goldberg said, “We are pleased to make such a large commitment to Rhode Island. We all live in the state, we believe in the state and we are going to do our part – both as a business and a committed community partner – to do what we can to be part of Rhode Island’s economic rebound.”
Goldberg, who lives in Warren and is very familiar with Rhode Island’s sports scene and many youth programs because of his children’s on-going participation, added, “Turfer Athletic has been a very successful venture for many years and with the opening of SquadLocker – a distributor and retailer of top line brands such as Adidas, Champion, Nike Golf and others – we are projecting significant growth both in our sales and our employment ranks.”
The SquadLocker CEO, who was once in the textile industry in Fall River with family members, already has 10 new jobs because of his move to Rhode Island.
“We want to be a game-changer in our industry,” Goldberg emphasized. “We’ve just installed a $100,000 customized service software system and we’re taking the highest sophistication approach to our operation. This is without question a big capital investment.”
During a recent tour of SquadLocker, which has retail and wholesale space, a custom service center, business offices, a production department and a huge warehouse at 240 Bald Hill Road in Warwick, Goldberg stood beside one multi-task machine that he said cost $37,000.
As yet another example of his growth projection in Warwick, Goldberg has 40 state-of-the-art machines that do everything from embroidery to screen-printing in rapid-fire fashion.
“All of these machines are not operating at present,” Goldberg said. “But we’re expecting great growth and that someday each machine will have its own operator.”
SquadLocker not only has state-of-the-art equipment, but Goldberg has lined up an all-star-like team of staffers, some of whom have enjoyed success in both professional and collegiate sports.
Drew Omicioli, a one-time All-State hockey player at La Salle Academy who starred at Providence College then played professional with the Providence Bruins and Balzano HC in Italy and later coached at Brown, is vice president of sales. His wife Tiffany, who starred in hockey at UConn and is from Canada, is also a ranking executive at SquadLocker.
Likewise, SquadLocker’s lineup also includes former Houston Astros baseball pitcher Tip Fairchild, who is well known for his patented youth baseball clinics.
“We’re also committed to supporting scholastic sports in a variety of innovative ways,” Goldberg said. “So many local school sports budgets have been hit hard by cuts and increased costs. At SquadLocker, we’re committed to doing what we can as a member of the state’s sports community to work together with coaches, league officials and supporters to help ensure that as many youngsters as possible have the opportunity to experience the joys and life’s lessons of athletic competitions.”
Goldberg said SquadLocker will provide a “partnership strategy” with the entire Rhode Island sports community.
“We are planning a series of informational forums for league officials, parents, coaches and other supporters,” said the CEO and youth sports father. “They’ll be conducted by industry experts who will speak on new developments and best practices in organized sports and dealing with promoting safety in such programs. We just want to do our part to help everyone in the [RI] athletic community play more often and play more safely.”
As an example of just how Goldberg and company plan to give back to the state’s sports community, SquadLocker is donating hundreds of articles of new clothing to the United Way for distribution to homeless shelters throughout the state.
Goldberg and his SquadLocker team have been working with the Boys and Girls Club of South Providence to donate customized basketball jerseys for their teams, which will be presented during an open house.
SquadLocker will hold an Open House on Thursday, March 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. and will showcase its retail, warehousing and custom embroidery facility in Warwick. For more information contact Todd Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.