All of you remember the story of how Sport Chalet started in baseball as part of Norbert’s focus on listening to what our customers want and responding. Norbert was busy selling in a store one day in Sport Chalet’s first spring when a mom and her son came in. The mom said she needed a mitt for her son. Norbert was setting out mountain gear, and he excitedly ran to the back to bring out a huge box of mitts, thinking they were going to get an early start on next season. Of course, they were kid’s ski mittens. The mom said no, not ski mittens, baseball mitts. Norbert asked what a baseball mitt was, then he asked what baseball was. As the story goes, shortly thereafter he went to into the Spar (now Taylor’s) with a representative of Rawlings and signed our first baseball orders. There is some disagreement on whether or not there was confusion on R versus FR gloves, and rumor has it Sport Chalet cornered the left-handed baseball player market for almost a decade.
This past Saturday, I was visiting with our Mission Viejo store, and a golf customer named Thomas Holty proceeded to tell me the story of how Sport Chalet started, Norbert and Irene sleeping in the ski shop, cooking food on a single burner propane stove, and taking showers through the screen door. He also then told me he was responsible for getting Sport Chalet into the baseball business. He and his Mom, (Iona) lived near the ski shop and frequently visited Sport Chalet. They wanted to continue to do business with us, and were excited about the upcoming baseball season. He articulated the story verbatim, and so it was a great treat after hearing the story from Norbert for so many years, to hear it from the athlete himself.