A new shop is now in the game in downtown Naperville. Pro Image Sports has opened a location at 120 Water St. The sports merchandise shop sells a wide range of professional athletic attire.
“Pro Image Sports sells a variety of licensed goods from the NCAA to the MLB, NFL, MLS, and so on. So what we’re able to sell in-store is professional jerseys, what they wear on the field. We even have the helmets that they wear on the field and the replicas. So there’s really something for every price point,” said Mike Wierzbinski, owner of Pro Image Sports Naperville.
What sparked the interest to open a store in Naperville?
Wierzbinski, a Naperville resident, decided to open the shop after his three sons struggled to find their favorite player’s jersey.
“So our family are huge sports fans. We actually play a ton of local sports through the park district, but also through the community. And living in Naperville, there’s really not an option where you can find something that is more tailored to the fan. Other stores have a lot of workout gear, but nothing that can really suit the needs of a nine or eight-year-old boy,” said Wierzbinski.
That sparked an idea to open his own sports store. His research led him to Pro Image Sports, a national franchise with more than 160 locations around the country, with each franchise individually owned and operated.
Licensing agreements with Pro Image Sports
Without the help of Pro Image, Wierzbinski says he would have struck out on his hopes of selling such gear.
“What we found was that the only way we can get the officially licensed goods was to partner with some sort of franchise. The only franchise in the US that actually has licensing agreements is Pro Image Sports. So if you want to sell what the players are actually wearing, you have to go that route. If we were a mom-and-pop shop, we wouldn’t be able to sell the likes of New Era or Mitchell and Ness or even Nike goods that are worn on the field,” said Wierzbinski.
The community’s reaction to the store
The store has been open since Black Friday and Wierzbinski says the community’s reaction has been welcoming.
“We have a bunch of junior high and high schoolers kind of already hanging out in the store and putting together their Christmas lists for the holidays. So it’s super exciting. And everybody’s really, I think, happy that something like this exists and they don’t have to order it online,” said Wierzbinski.
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