NEW BEDFORD − After opening only a month ago, Whaling City Sporting Goods is working hard to be the go-to place for sports equipment.
“Everybody in the area has been really happy with what we’ve been doing,” said Steven Medeiros, 24, owner of the sporting goods store on Popes Island.
“People have been spreading the word a lot. And every day is better, every single day. So it’s been awesome so far.”
With just under 4,000 square feet of space, the shop offers hockey, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and field hockey equipment, with plans to have pickleball items in stock soon.
There’s both new and used equipment, with 10% of the consignment sales going to the South Coast Panthers youth hockey organization.
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“Everybody deserves to be able to play any sport. That’s why I carry used equipment, new equipment — everybody deserves to play,” Medeiros said.
Aside from equipment, the shop also has in-house embroidery and screen-printing services. The services take two weeks or 10 days, respectively.
Medeiros said he already has an order for 300 hats for a local business and hopes to do more with Fairhaven High School and other New Bedford-based sport teams.
Following in the footsteps of J&B Hockey
Growing up in Fall River, Medeiros worked for a number of years at J&B Hockey & Sporting Goods on President Avenue. “It’s a staple of that community; this area needed something like that,” he said.
In his last semester at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Medeiros landed a job as an assistant project manager for a construction company, but left the position to pursue the sporting goods venture.
“I always found myself missing working at J&B. I wanted to make that my life,” he said.
Having worked for years in Fall River, Medeiros said he wants his store to have a similar family feel and for customers to have that hands-on experience before purchasing their equipment.
“I don’t want people to feel like you’re talking to a used car salesman,” he added. “I want people to know that what they’re purchasing from my store, it’s going to work for them.”
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Inside the store, there is an equipment testing area that has shooting boards. It will eventually have synthetic ice for customers to utilize, too.
Medeiros, an avid street and ice hockey player, said he fell in love with the sport at age 5 when his stepfather bought him a stick for Christmas.
“I was in the driveway shooting, and it just never stopped,” he said. “I spent my childhood playing street hockey with my stepdad.”
Medeiros’ parents, as well as Medeiros’ girlfriend Lauren and her parents, have been very helpful with the store. He said they helped clean up the interior when they first rented the building, and have also assisted in building a few things.
“It really is gonna be forever evolving here. We’re gonna keep it that Ma and Pa feel, that family feel, always,” he said.
“Everyone should feel comfortable coming here and asking for help.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports.Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.