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Go Here, Not There: Get Your Game On at Schuylkill Valley Sports

Schuylkill Valley Sports is the best place to buy your gear - whether you're a couch potato or a highly honed athlete. Dump the Big Box and keep your business in the 'hood.

Go Here, Not There! is a tool. Use it to get the best deals on goods while
supporting local, independently-owned businesses. As American consumers, we
were born to believe the better deal equates to less dollars, but other factors
matter just as much: the quality of the product, the fit between the product
and the consumer, and an expert staff trained to understand the importance of
both. Go Here, Not There! and get your money’s worth while protecting the
fabric of our neighborhoods and local businesses.

Your team is playing this weekend, and you want to let the world know you’ve got its back. You’re no bandwagon fan either – these have been your boys since you were a kid. BUT your favorite hat was ripped to shreds by Bad Dog! Cutter, and you’ve long since outgrown the jersey Santa stuffed in your stocking. To mount the game-day couch without good-luck apparel is asking for a world of hurt. It’s time to shop. The problem? You’re a Denver Nuggets fan, and the first jump ball hits center court in just under two hours. Not even the fastest online delivery can save you now. You gotta go local.

But head to Dick’s Sporting Goods and you’ll face defeat; they carry only local team gear – Phillies, Sixers, Eagles, Flyers, Penn State. Once again the Corporate Big Box can’t compare to our very own mom and pop sporting goods shop: Schuylkill Valley Sports.

From their humble beginnings in the Audubon Shopping Center, this
independently-owned business has grown to include 20 shops throughout Eastern
and Central Pa. Founded in 1971 by Jerry Williams, Schuylkill Valley Sports has
its headquarters in Limerick and is proud of their local roots. As they
celebrate their 40th anniversary, they continue to serve their communities. According to Phil Baumgardner, Marketing Director & Buyer for the company, “A big part of our business is providing customized goods to local high schools, youth
organizations, and businesses. We also support many of these organizations
through charitable donations. Additionally, all of our employees are local.
Our dollars stay in the community, enriching the local economy.”

SVS is the only sports shop around that serves up customized goods for the local school districts. Whether you’re a Ram or a Wildcat, Schuylkill Valley has you covered with shorts, tee shirts, and sweatshirts. SVS boasts apparel for seven local schools: Pottstown, Pottsgrove, Pope John Paul, Boyertown, Daniel Boone,
Spring-Ford and OJR, and they provide finishing services for the school’s
letterman jackets.

If professional or collegiate sports apparel and novelties are what you seek, look no further than SVS, because they have inventory depth. Denver Nuggets gear? They have it, as well as clothes and accessories for the New Orleans Hornets, the Minnesota Vikings, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Blackhawks. You may still get rocks thrown at you if you attend an Eagles game in a Cowboys jersey, but at least you have guts.

For more conventional fans, SVS includes depth within its Philadelphia merchandise. Says Baumgardner, “Dicks and other large chains tend to focus only on the items that are best sellers, while we have a comprehensive selection of Phillies apparel and collectibles.”

Decorating the walls of the Coventry Mall’s SVS are the well-known jerseys of Cliff Lee and Chase Utley, right alongside the shirts of lesser-known players like Mayberry, Polanco and Manuel. Says store manager Loretta Pavie, who has worked for SVS for 11 years, “You can get a jersey lettered with any player, bench or starter.”

Customers can also personalize jerseys with their own names and favorite numbers, a service Dick’s doesn’t provide.

Although Schuylkill Valley Sports is a Mecca for team blankets, pillow pets,
flags, mugs, trash cans, storage containers, license plates, car mats and
clothing of every kind, the most important aspect of their store in comparison
to the competition is their sporting expertise. According to Pavie, “It’s our priority to hire local athletes who have high school and collegiate experience in a variety of sports, at least one representative per sport. Our store currently has workers
who have played football, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, field hockey,
lacrosse, wrestling and track.”

Questions about equipment? SVS employees are
trained via in-store clinics on how to fit athletic shoes, football pads,
wrestling gear. They’ve even started making their own YouTube videos for the
same purpose. When we asked what a high school wrestler might need to ensure a winning season, we were shown a variety of ear guards, shoes, singlets and head gear, including Cliff Keens and Asics – just what the aspiring young wrestler wants. When we asked the same question at Dick’s, we were sent first to one corner of the store – no wrestling equipment in sight – and then to the shoe department, where we managed to find a small supply of headgear. No Cliff Keens, and no trained athletes.

If that isn’t enough to recommend the local independent over the Big Box, then maybe their prices and specials will seal the deal. Each month during the store’s 40th anniversary year, SVS features items for $40, or merchandise 40% off, like the coveted wrestling shoes. They also offer 10% off merchandise by way of discount cards sold as part of school fundraisers. Support your team and save money on items like Under Armour Cold Gear Mocks, which run $49.99 at both Dick’s and SVS, but end up costing less at your local independent. Get your game on at Schuylkill Valley Sports, and get a great deal more than a great deal!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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