Local Team Shop discusses their unique business model, fan wear market, and how coaches are benefiting from it.
Scott Nelson, Founder / Owner
What is Local Team Shop?
Nelson: Local Team Shop is a direct-to-consumer apparel provider.
When were you founded?
Nelson: We were founded in 2009.
What inspired you to create Local Team Shop?
Nelson: The industry and our current customers. We came from retail where we created the Local Team Shop concept for Walmart. We started with putting Local Team Shops in five Walmarts where we specialized in the back to school market. We expanded to eleven Walmarts in central and northern Ohio. With over 300% growth in two years our proof of concept was heading in the right direction.
How is Local Team Shop unique?
Nelson: Our relationships with our current customers. We have a custom built business model supported with specialized knowledge about the space in which we operate. We’re 100% committed in obtaining insight on what matters to our coaches.
Who is your target audience?
Nelson: Our direct customers are high school coaches. Our indirect customers are fans of the teams and programs we service.
What does a partnership with a coach look like?
Nelson: It’s awesome. We love being in the people business. Leaving retail and partnering with coaches direct was the best strategic move we made. The head coach is the central nervous system of our entire deal. We spend a tremendous amount of time investing in the relationship with our coaches year round. What matters to them really matters to us! We actually sell by presenting coaches with our partner, perform, benefit model.
How does Local Team Shop provide value to high school coaches?
Nelson: We provide value by staying laser focused on them, their athletes, and their fan base. We have specific products and systems that service their program categories. Each individual high school program has obvious internal needs for players and coaches, but external support via the community fan base is apparent in today’s high school environment.
That’s proven from our retail Local Team Shop days. The difference is what used to be spirit wear (hoodies & tees) transitioned into everyday fan wear. Retailers now call it lifestyle or athleisure wear, but at the end of the day it’s fan wear. We often make the statement “take a look around the office; dress down day isn’t just for Fridays anymore”.
Do you have any locations outside of Ohio? Are you planning to expand outside of Ohio?
Nelson: Our home office is located in Coshocton, Ohio, and we currently service only Ohio high school coaches and a few colleges and universities. We built our model so that we could duplicate and implement our system of servicing the three main arteries (coaches, athletes, & fans) in every program. Growing our business by multiplying coaches and fans is always the plan.
Do you see any areas of growth for your company?
Nelson: We have unlimited growth opportunities to exploit right here in North America. That’s what makes our unknown market so exciting. Many think the Fan Wear market is a sub-market or some sort of a trend. We welcome their ignorance because we like as much market share as possible.
In reality there is zero data to support the size of the high school Fan Wear market. We do know we couldn’t run out of coaches wanting us to dress their athletes and fans if we wanted to.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Nelson: I know where I would like to see our company in five years: Partnering with as many high school coaches across the country as we can. We’re in the process of creating alliances ourselves, so we will just have to wait and see. I do know this: It won’t be a lack of customer acquisition that holds us back. And that’s a great feeling.
“I couldn’t imagine running our volleyball program without Local Team Shop. Their attention to what will sell to our fan base is amazing. The process is painless and allows my staff and I more time to coach.”
Julie Grove, Head Coach, Claymont Volleyball
“We have been all in with Local Team Shop for over seven years. From preseason to playoffs they are our cloth agent when it comes to our players, fans, and coaches. Their personal interest in our program sets them apart from other companies by miles.”
Justin Buttermore, Head Coach, Tri-Valley Football
“Local Team Shop is a very popular part of our football program by offering Fan Wear to our base all over the country. We make sure they are present at our move-in day every year.”
Jack Hatem, Head Football Coach, Denison University