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.
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 00:00
After spotting an abandoned cemetery at the corner of Grant Avenue and Rose Street in the heart of downtown Farmingdale, resident Vicki Gruber became inspired to trace the lineage of the Van Cott family—some of the earliest settlers in the Farmingdale community. Gruber, a corporate and securities attorney, said that after approaching the village about the history of the cemetery, she took it upon herself to do the research. Compiling three or four years worth of newfound information, Gruber discovered that each of the 16 plots in the cemetery are direct descendants of Claes Cornelissen Van Cats, a Dutch settler and firm believer in democracy, home rule and civil liberty.
Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00
Farmingdale village officials will be holding a public hearing on Dec. 1, to reexamine school speed zones throughout the village, in order to establish a consistent school speed zone limit.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
At a special “wrap up “ meeting for the 2014 Marcum Workplace Challenge, Greater Long Island Running Club Vice President and Event Director Mindy Davidson of Farmingdale, presented a special plaque to Winsome Foulkes, team captain of the Farmingdale-based Telephonics Corporation. Winsome is retiring from Telephonics after a long and successful career and has led the Telephonics Corporation in the Marcum Workplace Challenge since its inception.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
There is simply no better way for runners and their families to celebrate the Holiday Season than by being part of the fun at the Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt Holiday 5 Kilometer Run, and on Saturday morning, Dec. 20, the Run will be celebrating its 27th anniversary edition at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage. The run will start at 9:30 a.m. on Broadway in Bethpage.