Pro Athlete Hosts Pop-Up Patio Party

As the days get warmer it’s clear that summer is near here in Kansas City and that our employees are spending more and more time working outside when the weather allows and as we announced that we were in the process of expanding our open patio area.

Earlier this week, we were able to have our grand opening when we shutdown our business operations and surprised all of our employees with a Pop-Up Patio Party.

Just yesterday, we had our “official” grand opening of the Ballpark Bistro Patio. Complete with live music performed by Minor Rewind, drinks and snacks put together by Chef Nathan and members of our Hospitality team.

As we head into the summer months, we can guarantee that this won’t be the last time the newly expanded Ballpark Bistro Patio is used for work and play.

Core Value Spotlight: Build Redundancy

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

 

Our tenth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees to Build Redundancy. Inspired by Yogi Berra’s notable quote, “This is like Déjà vu all over again.”


At Pro Athlete, we like to empower and encourage all of our employees to donate both their time and money to charities and organizations that are close to their heart. Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Build Redundancy.

Rookie Day Rewind: Our Take on Take Your Child to Work Day

Last week, we had the great opportunity to invite several of our future Pros into our facility to celebrate Take Your Child to Work Day.

In true Pro Athlete fashion, we took the traditional aspects of Take Your Child to Work Day and renamed and reworked the day to fit the untraditional workplace and workspaces that we’re known for. Not only were they invited into our facility, they also got to team up with their parents to learn more about their job and what life is like working at Pro Athlete.

The “Rookies”, as we call them, learned all about the ordering, fulfillment and distribution processes of what it takes from the moment an order is placed on JustBats.com or JustBallGloves.com until the order arrives at its final destination.

After a few hours learning about the systems and processes that keep our business up and running, the Rookies took to the Sport Court and rotated through several different stations of activities involving a wide variety of games and activities that their parents often participate in as a part of our wellness program.  

After time on the Sport Court, the Rookies spent some time in Studio ‘87 in a condensed version of our assisted stretching and yoga classes. The day came to a close with some time in the Ballpark Bistro enjoying a healthy lunch prepared by Chef Nathan paired with face-painting before the Rookies spent the remaining afternoon with their parents exploring Pro Athlete individually.

Year after year, it's rewarding to see all of the kiddos walk away with more and more knowledge about how we operate our business. One day, maybe they will be the ones running the show. 

Gettin’ Comfy

You never know what type of opportunity might be waiting for you on the other end of a voicemail or email that you receive. We didn’t know either when we received an email to our general company email account from Brandi Russell.

She started by saying that she was not the founder or CEO of her company Comfy Cup. It was her 12-year-old son Kyler who was the founder and CEO. She called herself “Kyler’s Mom and CO-CEO.” She had us hooked right then and there for so many reasons.

She had a company that dealt with baseball (like us), the name of the company was super cool, and it was founded by someone who couldn’t watch an R-rated movie yet. Most of us were thinking about school, sports, video games, friends and so many other things at 12...not starting a business. How cool is it that Kyler started his own company before he was a teenager? Get this, they also got to give a pitch at a 1Million Cups event in Kansas City. Check out their video here.

We are so thankful the Comfy Cup team reached out to us and we look forward to continuing to build our relationship to benefit both companies. If you haven’t checked them out, head over to TheComfyCup.com or check out their listing on Amazon to get one today!

Here is Co-CEO Brandi Russell on the relationship between Comfy Cup and Pro Athlete!

Core Value Spotlight: Embrace Stewardship

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

Our ninth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees to Embrace Stewardship. Inspired by Jackie Robinson’s notable quote, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

At Pro Athlete, we like to empower and encourage all of our employees to donate both their time and money to charities and organizations that are close to their heart. Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Embrace Stewardship.

Ballpark Bistro Expands Open Patio Area

At Pro Athlete, we’re all about striving to continually innovate. We’re always innovating our practices, our perks, benefits, and even our facility to better cater to the needs of our employees.

For years we have had an outdoor space next to our cafeteria, which we call Ballpark Bistro. Employees would go to eat lunch in this area when the weather was nice. We had a few tables and chairs that rarely accommodated the number of people that wanted to be outside.

This past year, we decided to upgrade the space to allow for more use. We doubled the square footage and increased the number of seats. We added new tables, chairs, a bar ledge, and a new sunshade to make the space feel like a real patio you would see at a restaurant. Soon, we'll be adding a TV and a new speaker system. This space should get a lot of use when the weather is nice here in Kansas City.

New Toy is a “Hit” for Pro Athlete Employees

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take batting practice at your favorite major league ballpark? Imagine trying to hit a ball into the Kauffman Stadium fountains or over the Green Monster at Fenway Park or maybe into the B&O Warehouse in right field at Camden Yards. With the help of our newest toy, HitTrax, now you can.

HitTrax has sensors that measure swing speed, ball exit speed, and many other things during each and every swing you take in our cage. It also allows you to put yourself inside any ballpark and it will show the path that your ball is taking after you hit it. Another cool feature for all of us washed up hitters, is the ability to bring the fences in closer to home plate at any of these ballparks, so you ensure you knock it out of the park.

Since rolling out HitTrax, our employees have been spending more time in the cage perfecting their swings in anticipation of our September company baseball game. And while HitTrax is a fun toy, it is also a very valuable tool for any serious baseball player looking to improve their swing. The data that it captures from each swing is very valuable for making adjustments.


We want to thank the team over at HitTrax for providing us with an awesome new toy.

Was That A Ballpark Inside Union Station?

DSC00152.jpg
DSC00180.jpg

Local businesses came together this past Wednesday for the annual KC Chamber Small Business Showcase inside of the historic Union Station. Around 80 Kansas City companies took part in the event that drew a large crowd of local professionals who wanted to learn more about the participating companies.

Pro Athlete, Inc. was honored to be considered alongside all of these amazing companies. When we were trying to decide what our booth should look like, it was pretty clear to our team that if the point of the booth was to give people a look inside your company, then we needed to build a ballpark. From turf, to foul poles and everything in between, we created a mini stadium that we called BeaPro Park. We did this in honor of our first website, www.beapro.com. One of the big things that caught the eyes of those walking around was our “Crown Vision.” Crown Vision was a tv system that showcased a welcome message to all who entered BeaPro Park and it also displayed some of our company statistics.

Being a baseball company, we felt that it was only right that one of our giveaways would be tickets to a Kansas City Royals game. So, we offered up four Diamond Club tickets in a drawing. We did another drawing that we believe was the best one we have done to date. In honor of our company charity program, where we give each employee $1,500 every year to donate to the charity, or charities, of their choice, we decided to do that same thing for one lucky winner. To the name that was drawn, we agreed to donate $1,500 to a charity of the winner’s choice.

It was a great experience to see so many awesome companies and people from the Kansas City area come together to celebrate small businesses. Union Station was an excellent location for the event and the KC Chamber staff knocked it out of the park (pun intended). We can’t thank the staff enough for their work on everything that went into this fun and exciting event.

 

 

 

Core Value Spotlight: Be Resourceful

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

 

Our eighth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees within every department to Be Resourceful. Inspired by Tommy Lasorda’s notable quote, “There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.”


At Pro Athlete, we like to believe that by being resourceful we have the ability to do our best work and to continue to innovate and implement the latest and greatest technology to continue to grow our business in each and every area. Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Be Resourceful.

16 Reasons Why Employees Think We Are a Best Place to Work in Kansas City

Since our inception in 1987, Pro Athlete, Inc. has cultivated a one-of-a-kind environment that has translated into a fun place for our customers, alumni, vendors, lenders, friends, and visitors. We’ve been recognized by Kansas City Business Journal and KC Chamber, as well as nationally for our cool and healthy office.

But, do you know the main reasons people want to work here? Here are the top sixteen reasons why employees think Pro Athlete, Inc is a best place to work in Kansas City.

  1. Charity Program. One of our core values is Embrace Stewardship, and we give charitable causes a bear hug, in that regard. Every employee receives a generous annual allotment to give to any charitable organization(s) they choose. We also continuously volunteer as a company for YMCA Challenger, Gloves For Kids, Noah’s Bandage Project, and many more.

  2. Keep It Local. Our coffee shop, Pro Shop, and on-site bar all support local companies. This includes Charlie Hustle tee shirts, Boulevard beer in 6-4-3, and many more local spots are proudly aligned with so our hometown is given plenty of love.

  3. Privately Owned. Locally-owned and no public pressure. At just over 50 employees, Pro Athlete, Inc. easily leverages each employee’s skills and abilities to do more with less. This also gives us the flexibility to spoil employees with better perks.

  4. Free Breakfast and Lunch. Have you met our on-site, culinary-expert Chef Nathan? He cooks up made-to-order eggs every morning, as well as five-star, health-conscious lunches every day. These are at no cost to employees.

  5. Famous Visitors. By virtue of running JustBats.com and JustBallGloves.com, a number of well-known ballplayers have walked our halls. George Brett, Adam Dunn, Michele Smith, Travis Kelce, Matt Besler, and more have enjoyed our hidden treasure. See who else has visited.

  6. 100% Healthy. Always a KCBJ Healthiest Place to Work and nationally-recognized for our efforts, we’re very health-conscious. We are true believers in preventing high-risk diseases by encouraging all of our employees to lead and live a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle, which is why we have an on-site personal trainer. Seriously.

  7. Interest-Free Home Loan. Looking to buy a house? We help our employees. Salaried employees who have served, at least, one year are eligible for an interest-free loan of $5,000 toward the purchase of their first home.

  8. Oh, Baby! One of our newest perks is our Baby Bonus Program. A new baby means a new addition to our family too, so employees that become new parents are given a monetary bonus and a gift basket featuring Kansas City goodies, gift certificates, baby necessities, and (of course) baby’s first baseball glove.

  9. We’re Competitive. Six years in a row we’ve won our Kansas City Corporate Challenge division. We also have employee tournaments, including pickleball, dodgeball, and racquetball, going year-round. It’s okay to have fun at work too.

  10. Unlimited PTO. Pro Athlete, Inc. is a holistic culture. That means no bosses or managers. Everyone self-manages themselves and that means our full-time, salaried employees control their paid-time-off and self-dictate when their work gets done.

  11. 100% Company Paid Healthcare Coverage. We pay 100% health premium coverage for employees who choose to live a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle. This coverage includes spouses and dependents.

  12. Best Company 401(k) Program. Preparing for the future is important, which is why Pro Athlete contributes a generous 401(k) contribution match, dollar-for-dollar, up to 10%.

  13. You Never Leave. Our commitment to all of our current and former employees is why we established the Alumni Program for former employees. Once you leave, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive product discounts, invites to company events, and much more.

  14. A Real Company Baseball Game. Every year, we take our company baseball game to a whole new level. Uniforms, announcers, and renting out Community America Baseball Park are all a part of a truly unique experience for our employees.

  15. Player Development Program. Each employee receives an annual allotment each year toward their personal development by completing courses in Pro Athlete University, our own learning portal. Employees can use the money for conferences, certifications, classes, and much more.

  16. I’m Going to Disney World. Personalized bobbleheads and baseball bats greet employees for time awards, but the big one is when you’ve been here for five years. Pro Athlete flys you and your immediate family to Orlando, Florida for a week-long stay at a gated-community house and a week of theme park fun.

 

Hard to believe this all exists at one company, right? What’s your favorite benefit or perk we offer? Learn more about Pro Athlete, Inc. and why employees think we’re a best place to work in Kansas City.

Company Surprise Leads Staff to Urban Youth Academy

Towards the end of every quarter, we have a company all-staff meeting in our bar. We call it Around the Horn. It’s a fireside chat type of setting and we talk about prominent business items and we pass out a bunch of awards for employees, including service-time awards.

IMG_0476.jpg

To start 2018 off on the right foot, we decided to switch it up. Since the Urban Youth Academy had recently opened and they enjoy baseball too, it made for a cool opportunity. For the second time in less than 6 months, we decided to surprise the team. We got a bus and loaded everyone on it and went down to the Urban Youth Academy.

We had about 45 people in the group and when we arrived we split into smaller groups and were given tours of the facility. Once the tours wrapped up, we held our Around the Horn meeting around home plate on the indoor field. It was awesome! After that, it looked like it was time to leave, but we weren’t done just yet. We split up into teams and played a game on the indoor field. So it was surely time to go now, right? Well, one more thing....we scheduled two food trucks The Casual Foodie and TacoKingKC to pull up to their facility and provide food for our employees and the awesome Urban Youth Academy staff!

It was an awesome upgrade over our typical quarterly meetings. We got to learn about a fantastic organization and got to meet some amazing people. We want to thank the staff at the Urban Youth Academy for being great hosts. If you haven’t been there, it’s a must-see in Kansas City. Organizations and programs like this really make you realize that the future of youth baseball in Kansas City is in great hands!

Inside Baseball: A Look Inside Pro Athlete’s Merchandising Department.

At Pro Athlete, the Merchandising Department is made up of a combination of several teams, including Product Management, Marketing, and Visual Media. Overall, the department strives to help our customers have the best online shopping experience with us, possible.

Our Product Management team consists of buyers who work with our vendors to bring quality products to our customers.

Our Marketing team focuses on delivering messages to the customer through email blasts and search engine marketing tactics. We provide alternate shopping methods through price comparison sites and product listing advertisements to create a better experience for our customers.

Our Visual Media team is in charge of creating visually appealing material for internal and external customers. Material created ranges from graphic designs to product videos.

Food is the Way to My Heart

decaro-cooks-1.jpg

When our employees get asked what their favorite thing about working here is, almost everyone says the people first. When you follow that up with what your next favorite thing is, you will almost always hear “the food.” We are fortunate to have a 5-star chef on our team. Chef Nathan has been an integral part of our employee engagement the past 6+ years.

We do believe that food is the way to everyone’s heart, and that’s why this benefit is one of the most important things we do at Pro Athlete. We have been serving food to our employees since the beginning. It has obviously evolved and improved, but it was important for us to just start out doing something. We get asked a lot how much it costs to do our food program, and we say that it doesn’t cost anything, it pays! Most people give us a funny look when we say that, but we truly believe it.

Employees stay on-site and most probably take a shorter lunch break because it’s so convenient. Our team gets to eat together every day and bond over anything they want. It’s healthy for our business. The relationships that are created and enhanced at the bistro table at work are priceless to our organization. We wouldn’t be who we are without that!

Our food service department was recently featured in a publication. Check it out here.

Bon Appetit!

Core Value Spotlight: Build a Systems Dependent Company

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are without a doubt the most important part of what makes us who we are!

Our seventh Core Value Spotlight is about how we build a systems dependent company. We believe good systems are the guts of an organization and make everything flow. Good systems help when you are training new hires, someone is out sick, and most importantly for clarity.

Ultimately, we believe that this methodology helps us as a company to continue moving forward at all times.  Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Build a Systems Dependent Company.

Perk Profile: Enrich Yourself

PAStretch.jpg

For years, if you were a salaried employee, you could workout, use the spa, or any other perk during work hours, but hourly employees would have to clock out to utilize the same perks. This past year we decided to make a change and encourage our hourly employees to take some time for themselves each day.

We want our employees at their best when it comes to dealing with our customers and our partners, so we implemented what we call our Enrichment Program. Each hourly employee gets up to 40 minutes paid each day, to enrich themselves. They can work out, read a book, get a pedicure in our spa, take a nap in the nap room, shoot baskets, etc.

AdamS.jpg

When we mention this program to people who are taking tours, they look at us a little funny. We can tell they think we are wasting a bunch of money on this perk. We just don’t see it that way at all. We believe in the concept of an empowerment culture for all our employees. So we trust that they are going to get their work done and not take advantage of the freedom they are granted to enrich themselves.

The Enrichment Program has been going for over a year, and we have received great feedback from our employees. They are thankful to have that time for themselves, and we believe our customers and partners are benefitting from it as well. For all those people who have looked at us kind of funny when we talk about this perk, thank you for the confirmation that we are doing this right. Alright, time to go watch two employees get paid to play racquetball against each other!

#YouKnowYouWorkAtProAthleteWhen

Pro Athlete’s Healthy Work Environment Makes Unexpected imPAct

It’s no secret that we strive to create a healthy work environment here at Pro Athlete. One of our 12 Core Values is built around that very approach. When we do things to live out our Core Values, you know it will affect other employees and their families, and we always hope that we can positively affect others as well.

KCBiz002 (1).jpg

The story below is an example of someone that was touched and motivated by one of our Core Values. You might be thinking that the motivation helped this person do better at their job or get a big raise, and maybe it will. But in this case, right now, the impact was a heck of a lot bigger than either of those things. We are talking about motivation to kick a life-threatening habit. Here is Rob’s story:

 

"I have wanted to get in since I first heard about the company. However at that time, I had a good job, but even more importantly, I was a smoker. 25 years of 1/2-1 pack per day. When I lost my job in June I still wouldn’t submit my resume because of smoking, seeing how much of an anti-smoking place the company is, but decided to finally send my resume at being smoke-free for about six weeks. I have now been tobacco free for over four months. I knew I wanted to quit, but honestly, it was the desire to work at Pro Athlete Inc. that put it over the top for me. So, whether anything opens up there or not, I am very thankful that I found out about the company and it being such a desirable place to work, as I now feel comfortable enough to call myself a non-smoker. I’m not naive enough to think cravings won’t hit ever again, but I am strong enough to beat it. So, really, thank you Pro Athlete Inc." -Rob D. 

 

When Rob shared this story with us, we invited him to our facility to thank him for the gift he gave us. As a company built around strong Core Values, there is no greater gift we could get from a stranger than that person telling us we made a positive impact on their life. Rob toured earlier this week, and it was amazing to see how much he knew about our company. It felt like he could be the one giving the tour!

We don’t know what the future holds for Rob and potentially working here, but we know that there is always a chance that the next game-winning moment for our company might just start with Rob. We also know that we were just as touched and motivated by his story as he was by our company!

Pro Athlete Hosts KC Chamber Networking Event

ChamberAfterHours240 (1).jpg

A week ago, we were fortunate to host one of the KC Chamber of Commerce networking events. The turnout was amazing as over 80 local business professionals came to our office for the event. It kicked off with an hour of networking over snacks prepared by our in-house chef, along with wine and beer from the taps of our on-site cafe, 6-4-3. Have to give our chef Nathan some props for preparing a full cold seafood bar! It was super fresh, and everyone seemed surprised to see that selection opposed to the standard little meatball things with toothpicks that you normally get at networking events.

At around 5:00 pm, there were a few announcements about the Chamber and then a brief description and video from our team. Then, we had two giveaway drawings for the people who attended the event. The first giveaway item was a gift basket full of Pro Athlete branded apparel, glasses, Freakers and much more. The 2nd prize was a $500 gift card to our top e-commerce website, JustBats.com.

ChamberAfterHours208 (1).jpg

The last half of the event had some more networking in 6-4-3 and guided tours for the attendees by our employee ambassadors. We were able to take them all around the facility and answer questions about our company. Many of the attendees asked how they could stay in touch with us. For anyone interested in staying connected, please follow our blog and sign-up for our Fan Club.

We want to give a huge shoutout and thank you to the KC Chamber of Commerce staff for putting this event on for everyone. It was a really great night, and that is due in large part to the staff there.

If you ever want a tour of the building, please email contact@proathleteinc.com, and one of our employee ambassadors would be happy to give you the tour!

ChamberAfterHours78 (1).jpg
ChamberAfterHours235.jpg
ChamberAfterHours132 (2).jpg
ChamberAfterHours96 (1).jpg

Core Value Spotlight: Create a Healthy Work Environment

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are without a doubt the most important part of what makes us who we are!

Our sixth Core Value Spotlight gives you an in-depth look at why we encourage our employees to utilize our facility, as well as how to live out a healthy lifestyle during the workday.

Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Create a Healthy Work Environment.

Pitch In 2018 - Our Guide To Giving Back

Giving back to others is an essential part of our company. In fact, Embrace Stewardship is a Core Value at Pro Athlete, and therefore, we expect every employee to be involved in giving back to our community, to organizations or causes that are important to them and those in need.

That is why we have a Charity Program that offers each employee a generous monetary allotment each year that they can use to donate to charitable organizations. We do this to empower each employee and teach them about the power of giving, as opposed to the company deciding on a couple of charities to donate to as a whole each year. We hope each employee embraces it and carries it with them, and those close to them, throughout their lives.  

In 2017, Pro Athlete and its employees donated more than $58,000 to 82 different charities. Please take some time to read about the charities that our employees chose to help throughout 2017.