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When Times Get Tough, The Tough Get Going

It has been a busy few weeks at BSN SPORTS and I am just now catching my breath to sit down and write about issues large and small that impact our Company and our customers. A big theme is, of course, the economy – nothing has a greater impact on school districts, after school programs and our kids’ well-being than the health of our economy. It’s no secret that things remain sluggish in this regard, and statistics tell the story:

  • In my home state of Texas, we lost 900 jobs in local school districts in August, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics;
  • Texas also cut public education by about $537 per student over the next two years – the first decrease in per-student spending in Texas since World War II;
  • The William Penn School District in Pennsylvania recently announced it was eliminating three sports for the upcoming scholastic year: boys’ and girls’ swimming, wrestling and softball;

Unfortunately, this represents just a quick overview of recent developments concerning cutbacks in school and athletic budgets. I could probably cite dozens of similar statistics from across the country.

At BSN SPORTS, we don’t pretend for a moment to have the political or policy prescriptions to reverse this unfortunate state of affairs. There are plenty of pundits and politicians on both sides to work those issues out. But what we do focus on is the day-to-day impact we have in our communities and with our customers. To draw an analogy to football, if games are won in the trenches, that’s where BSN SPORTS feels most at home.

For us, this is more than a slogan. We live our commitment to local communities every day. Here’s what I mean:

  • In our headquarter city of Dallas, we are pleased to report that we have 90 open positions – a tribute to our strength and growing market presence. In an environment where the dominant news tends to be about corporate down-sizing, this investment in our local workforce signals confidence and our intent to enhance the breadth and depth of our customer offerings. We were honored that CBS Channel 11 in Dallas carried a story about these new hires, as part of their series, “Now Hiring.” The message: we are strong and getting stronger.
  • Second, we are reaching out to local communities through our previously-announced Victory Grant Program. The goal here is to provide $1,000,000 in funding to help improve these circumstances by funding programs that are in need (for details on how to apply for the funds, please see my previous blog post). I am pleased to report that the Program is, to date, a terrific success. BSN SPORTS has received hundreds of applications from school districts all across the country, and we are in the initial stages of convening our Grant Committee to select recipients. I am confident that these funds will make a meaningful impact on communities hit hardest by budget and related cuts, and we will have updates soon concerning recipients.
  • Finally, we are adopting social networking tools to extend our customer reach, provide opportunity for real-time feedback from customers, and issue periodic promotions that will help fund athletic programs. For example, through our Facebook page we recently offered a 20% discount and sponsored a “Best Sales Rep” contest that earned the winner’s account some pretty terrific deals. We will continue to utilize social networking tools to offer great deals and Company-wide updates.

So, as you can see, there is a lot going on at BSN SPORTS. We can’t claim that our energy and vigor will transform the ills that plague our country (such a herculean task is outside of my pay grade, for sure), but we are doing our part with our customers and in our local communities to provide the best personal service, brand selection, and custom solutions that drive success.

Stay tuned for more updates and exciting news from BSN SPORTS, and as always don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions.

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Chadd Edlein is the Director of Merchandising @ BSN SPORTS. Product focuses include: Basketball, Benches & Bleachers, Equipment for Parks & Recreational Facilities, & Coaching Aids. Chadd has been at BSN SPORTS for 17 years and went to the University of Arizona. Chadd's favorite sports are baseball and hockey and is a volunteer youth baseball coach for his son's team.

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