If you’re a sports fan in need of top quality team apparel, PreGame Sport has come to Barrie and could have what you're looking for.
The new store in the Georgian Mall (near the Tim Horton’s entrance) is the second location for the company that specializes only in premium apparel. The first store opened in Erin Mills Town Centre this past March and has done very well. Owner Nafis Huda wanted to have a second store before year’s end and knew just where he wanted to go when it was time to expand.
“Barrie is such a wonderful place to be whether it’s in the winter or the summertime; there are so many sports organizations and sports fans here,” said Huda. “We also realized that a lot of our customer-base in Mississauga was coming north as well. Talking to them we found out that many Simcoe County residents had been shopping in our other location when they were down there for work. It just made sense to come here business-wise, but also because we love the city and all it offers.”
The Barrie location is unlike anything the city has seen for sports merchandise with its wooden-panel walls and granite-looking stucco tiling, giving the spot a very professional and well-organized feel. Huda believes that the look when you walk in is an important part of your PreGame experience.
“When people walk in we want them to feel welcome but also feel like we care about our appearance too,” said Huda. “Each area of merchandise is separated for a better viewing of what you want; NFL is one area, NHL in another and so on. The professional look of the walls and the lighting really does make the PreGame atmosphere what it is and we have been commended on that many times at our Mississauga store and already here too. We take a sense of pride in what we do and how we present ourselves.”
The 25 year old Huda admits that while his mother is the brains behind the business, he is proud to be her right-hand-man. The graduate of Ryerson says he was just helping his mom out to get everything started but fell into the plan and knew he wanted to be more a part of the business for the family and as a huge sports fan.
“I was meeting with the suppliers, meeting everyone in the business and started to have a great relationship with them,” said Huda. “Then it made me realize how much I was enjoying all the different aspects of what goes into this; a light went on and I knew that I would have so much fun making this succeed. Right now we are setting up our brick and mortar shops and then likely around December we push our e-commerce site, which is done just not published until we analyze the popularity of different merchandise. But let’s face it, truthfully I love this job because I’m big sports fan; huge Leafs and Jays fan, love the Patriots and Manchester United as well.”
Being a big soccer fan helps separate Huda’s store from others in the region. With the Premier League having got underway this past weekend and World Cup 2018 quickly approaching, there is a whole section dedicated to the world’s most popular sport. Mixed with the big four in North America, the PreGame selection is different than any others.
“As far as we know, the wide variety of different sports selection at our store is unlike any in town,” said Huda. “The big chains don’t really carry a big soccer selection and no one has the premier quality that we specialize in. That’s something we made a conscience effort in doing, but all that said our best seller is everything Blue Jays; parents especially grabbing stuff for the kids as they head down to Junior Jays Days or just to a regular game. That’s what we hope to do here is be that spot that folks stop into before they hit the 400 highway to head to Toronto.”
Despite being from Mississauga himself, Huda knows the city well as his best friend and the store’s manager is a Barrie resident. Having been to the city so much over the years, Huda knows one major thing about Barrie and he plans on honouring it.
“Barrie is very community-oriented,” said Huda. “Every city and its residents try to be about community first but it’s amazing how Barrie really does rally around itself year-round and for all causes. I love that about this city and one of the goals once we get settled is to give back by sponsoring a local team; I would really love to do that.”
While PreGame Sport is open now, they are having their big Grand Opening day on Saturday, Sept. 2. There will be treats, giveaways, drinks and Jenga challenge. Huda says you won’t want to miss it and hopes everyone comes out.
“Come in now and check us out, but for sure the Grand Opening on September 2 will be a huge event and a must-attend,” said Huda. “Going forward we hope we hope it’s always a great experience to come here and when the Leafs make the playoffs we’ll have it on our screens here in store; they’re going to make the playoffs all the time don’t worry.”
You can find all Barrie Pregame Sport news on their social media sites at Facebook and Instagram @pregamesportbarrie and Twitter at @pgsportbarrie