Written by Christy Hinko, Farmingdale@AntonNews.com Wednesday, 09 October 2013 14:12
If you are a hockey player who plays or resides on Long Island, then you have probably heard of Hockey Underground, located at 145 Milbar Blvd. in Farmingdale. The store opened at its Farmingdale location in 2012, but had been operating for many years in a warehouse in Freeport, just blocks away from the Freeport Ice Rink.
In order to accommodate their increasing customer base, store owner George Statler III said it was necessary to move. Farmingdale fit his store’s needs, “It’s a very central location, off a main highway, and very easy to get to,” said Statler.
“Hockey isn’t as big, as say, baseball, on Long Island,” said Statler, but he explained that there are more stores that sell baseball equipment because of higher number of people looking for that type of equipment. He said the same percentage of athletes are buying hockey equipment.
Statler began selling in warehouse, closed to the public. He originally worked for his father’s stores, Baseball Plus, before branching off into multisport equipment sales, and then finally into hockey.
His start with public sales began with the sale of a single hockey stick, when one of the hockey players— who had just finished a game at the adjacent rink in Freeport—observed him unloading a shipment into the warehouse. Statler said the warehouse at the time was strictly storage and not in any kind of order for display of merchandise.
That hockey player brought a friend, who brought a friend, who brought a friend and soon, Statler said he had many regular visits from new customers.
He’d ask the young hockey players about their typical purchases, where they would shop for hockey equipment. They all said they did not really have a brick and mortar place to shop, which was also reasonably priced. The new customers told Statler that they usually ordered hockey gear online, but didn’t like it; they wanted to see and touch the gear before making a significant purchase. That is when Statler knew he had to convert the warehouse and open to the public.
Statler confesses, he’s not a hockey player and, in fact, he never ever knew his Freeport location was near an ice rink. He was a baseball guy.
Slowly he learned that there was a good amount of hockey playing happening on Long Island.
He said the word-of-mouth customers named his Freeport location “Hockey Underground” because it was like a dungeon at first and the only hockey players who knew of it were from other hockey placers. It grew quickly, and within four years, Statler moved the business to Farmingdale.
“The market is really controlled by the NHL,” said Statler. “If the Rangers and Islanders are doing well, kids are excited about hockey, they want to play, that really drives the market.”
Statler says more and more kids are getting into the sport. He recalls that more of his customers were adults when he first started in the business, but guess that the average age of his customers now are 12 to 20 years old, and surprisingly he sells more ice hockey equipment through the year than street hockey gear.
“I think the Islanders leaving Long Island could hurt the business though, its [hockey’s] gotta be in people’s faces; out of sight, out of mind, but we’ll see,” said Statler.
His most popular selling item...definitely sticks. Statler said mostly because they break most compared to the other standard equipment in the sport. In addition, he said his skate sharpening service is popular because of their reputation with the quality of sharpening. He said many of his sharpening customers travel from New Jersey, and Brooklyn for that service alone. There are approximately 15 ice rinks on Long Island.
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
It may have been a polar vortex outside, but inside Farmingdale’s Village hall things were heating up with the first annual Winter wonderland. Close to 800 people filled the village hall over two hours on a frigid Wednesday evening to eat, laugh, and mingle with Main
Street’s finest, the business owners. While K 98.3 played music outside, inside the wonderful aromas of a variety of hot food from the local restaurants filled the air. There were rice balls, and chicken picatta, pastas and meat balls supplied by Cascarino’s and Palmer’s
Grill, along with Shepard’s pie, hot wings from Croxley’s Ale House. The guacamole from Caracara Mexican Grill was so fresh and delicious it would make a Texan jealous. There were 37 business represented all giving away free samples, food, and discounts to a packed crowd ranging in age from infants to seniors.
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
On Feb. 27, parents in the Farmingdale, East Meadow, Massapequa and Levittown school districts came together for an informal panel discussion on the New York State Education Department and the implementation of the state Common Core Learning Standards.
Panelists included New York State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Jeanette Deutermann of the Long Island Opt Out Facebook page, and former public school teacher David Greene, who came to the Farmingdale Public Library to talk with local parents about key concerns and questions with the curriculum.
An outspoken parent and founder of the Long Island Opt Out movement, Deutermann delved into some of the factors behind what led to the state’s adoption of the Common Core, and how the state education department cites High School graduation rates as its reasoning behind the curriculum.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
On an uncharacteristically beautiful, Feb. 23, the local running community responded in a big way. Between 450 and 500 people showed up at the Runner’s Edge in Farmingdale for the annual Winter Fun Run co-sponsored by the Runner’s Edge and the Greater Long Island Running Club.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
Oyster Bay Town Councilman Anthony D. Macagnone (center) recently attended the Farmingdale Firehawks Football Luncheon at Carlyle On The Green in Farmingdale. The Farmingdale Hawks players ages 5 to 13, along with their coaches, parents and team moms all attended the luncheon to show their support and receive annual awards. Pictured behind the players from left to right are Board Members Bob McCormic and Tim Greco, Village Trustee Patricia A. Christainsen, Village Trustee Cheryl Parisi, Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto, President Bob Dentato, Councilman Macagnone, Vice President Regina Mott, and Board Members Mike Ippolitti, Andrew Frigerio, and Steve Licata.
— Submitted by The Town of Oyster Bay