Corporate Housing - Pro Athlete Style

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It started as an idea. We wanted to provide our out-of-town vendors with a lodging experience better than a hotel, and it grew from there.

A few years ago we bought a house in the neighborhood near Zona Rosa so our vendors could stay close to our office, but also have a whole house to themselves. We gave the house a true Pro Athlete-inspired makeover and equipped it with a workout room, arcades, full bar, and a game room.

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The house is free for our vendors and comes fully stocked with all the drinks you can imagine. The house backs right up to Zona Rosa and includes a secret gate that visitors can access to walk to Zona Rosa easily. But, the coolest part? The house comes with a blue light on the roof, so guests can identify the house from a distance (especially if they have had a few beverages at Zona Rosa).

Needless to say, vendors loved the Pro Athlete house.

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But, vendors don’t visit every day, so there were still a lot of vacancies. That is when this awesome perk took a turn toward total awesomeness. We offered the houses up to our employees free of charge. And, we still offer this perk today.

The house can be used for staycations, family in town, group gatherings, team outings, etc. Just like for the vendors, the house is rent free and fully stocked.

We didn’t stop there. We didn’t want to take the chance of renting it to an employee and a vendor needing it later, so what do you do in that case? Yep, you guessed it! You buy the house next to it and do the same thing. So we did! The only major difference is that instead of a game room, the second Pro Athlete house has a full theater room.

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So, now we have two houses for vendors, employees, job applicants, etc. For the past year or so, both houses have been booked solid every weekend of the year.

It’s an amazing perk that has allowed some employees to experience great memories with their friends and family. The houses have hosted birthday parties, graduations, department meetings, staycations, and everything in between. 

Pro Athlete’s Take On Customer Service

As a follower of our blog and members of the Pro Athlete Fan Club, we are seeking new and exciting opportunities to give you insight into what’s going on around the office.

This week, we sat down with one of our own employees, Austin Hall. Austin has been a member of our team for several years and oversees our customer service experience that we strive to provide to all of our customers that have questions or need assistance when ordering a product from one of our eCommerce websites.

Q: What is your role within Pro Athlete?

A: My role at Pro Athlete is to oversee the entire operations revolving around customer service and the customer experience. We are a Net Promoter company, so we do our best to make sure that our customer's voice is always heard. A big component of our team is to be the voice of the customer. If the customer wants something done, we act as liaisons between the customer and the company to make sure the end user is always happy at every interaction. Lastly, the biggest component of our team is to make sure that our Customer Coaches are always available to provide expert advice on all of our products and available to assist our customers with any inquiries that come our way.  

Q: How does Pro Athlete make working in a contact center role an exciting and rewarding position?

A: We are very lucky at Pro Athlete to have a CEO who really sees the importance of providing excellent customer service.  After thorough on-boarding training, all of our Customer Coaches have the same authority to make executive decisions when it comes to making sure our customers are happy as the owner of the company would. Many contact centers have scripts, policies, procedures, and rules put into place that really limit the agent's ability to make a customer happy.  Our Customer Coaches are empowered to make their own decisions and really do their own thing to achieve the same results. Not to mention, our Contact Center is modeled after Kauffman Stadium, so we have an amazing office.

Q: Describe the environment that you and your team work in?

A: We have a very relaxed environment compared to the traditional contact center environment. We definitely have a state of the art set-up, we have a lot of fun, and we definitely have a team atmosphere. Our Customer Coaches answer phone calls, live chats, emails, questions & answers, and social media inquiries.  When we are busy you will find all of our Customer Coaches working extremely hard but between customers or during down time, you will see the team having a lot of fun interacting with one another or everyone tuned into the “big game” on one of the multiple flat screen TV’s we have in the Contact Center.

Q: Why do you refer those who work in the Contact Center as Customer Coaches?

A: At Pro Athlete everything seems to take on a sports or baseball reference, and this became part of that branding. Many others call their agents either agents or customer service reps, and we feel that our team is much more than that. The guys and girls taking care of our customers truly are experts in the field of products that we offer of whom many have real life experience playing or coaching at very high levels using the same products they are giving advice on. They do so much more than yield phone calls, they provide expert advice and really create lifelong customers. It is not out of the ordinary for customers to build relationships with any of our Customer Coaches and they prefer to speak to that person as they have trust in their advice and choose to deal only with that person. I would refer to our team more as inside account managers than a front line customer service representative as they build relationships and they handle every problem until it is resolved to completion. There are rarely ever escalations as the Customer Coaches have full-authority to do everything in their power to resolve every issue in whatever way needed to make sure the customer is happy.  

Q: You aren’t operating as a traditional contact center, why not?

A: We feel like traditional contact centers put way too many limits on the front line employees answering customer inquiries. If a frontline employee has so many restrictions, why even have them answering the phone calls, chats, or emails only to have to escalate the issue to someone else in the company?  Most traditional contact centers have scripts that the agents have to follow, the agents have to adhere to their schedule down to the minute and are very restricted in their day-to-day workflow. At Pro Athlete, our Customer Coaches are very intelligent and talented employees, and we want to empower them to use their talents to do whatever it takes to make sure our customers are always happy. We have lifted all of the traditional rules and guidelines that others have in place, and as long as we are achieving the same or better results, we don’t think there is any reason to not empower the employees to make their own decisions and control their own processes.

Q: What qualities and traits do you look for when adding MVPs to your team?

A: We really like to see someone who is definitely a culture fit within the company and shares the same values and believes in living out our core values not only in the office but also outside of the office. Some of the best Customer Coaches are social people who are very detailed, patient, and have a strong will to really help others and are passionate about making people happy. Real life experience in the field of the products that we offer is a plus, but some of the best Customer Coaches have never played the game.

Q: Who’s your most memorable customer that you have interacted with?

A: It is so hard to narrow it down to just one of the most memorable customers as there are so many great ones. We have dealt with so many current and former professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, MiLB, MLS, and NASCAR, so those are always fun but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is Chip Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Chip Gaines was a customer who called in and had a great experience with one of our Customer Coaches that he had one of his employees who works for their eCommerce site, Magnolia Market, reach out to me to talk to us about the way we ran our customer service department. I spent a week or so working with them and giving them tips on how we did things as their website was taking off with the popularity of their show. After working with them, I later received a handwritten thank you letter from Chip Gaines, and I thought that was a pretty memorable interaction.

Pro Athlete "Grows" Wellness Program

Despite all of our different benefits and amenities, we always see room for improvement. So, it wasn’t a surprise when members of our Wellness Team wanted to create their own garden at our Kansas City office.

After researching all avenues, we determined that installing Tower Gardens would be in our best interest. We’re starting off small by installing three tower gardens just outside of our I.T. Wing.

So, what does this mean?

No matter what the weather has in store, we’ll be able to grow fresh vegetables in our backyard, whether or not they are in season. We aren’t the only ones that believe in the process of the tower gardens. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport has more than 50 tower gardens that source all of the restaurants in the airport a bulk of their food.

As many fresh vegetables that Chef Nathan uses to prepare our meals around Pro Athlete, we believe that the tower gardens will translate to less time shopping for fresh veggies and reduce costs.

Soon, Chef Nathan will be able to walk a matter of steps and pick out fresh ingredients to implement into that day’s breakfast or lunch menu for our employees.

Tower Gardens, a vertical, aeroponic growing system, allows us to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than three square feet—indoors or out.   The reason for aeroponics is how much faster it harvests compared to plants within soil.  Harvest time tends to be around 4-6 weeks.

Have we inspired you or your business to install or begin to look into the implementation process of starting a tower garden? Check out our friends at http://www.towergarden.com/ for more information.

If You Build It. The Story of the Pro Athlete Baseball Field.

Our office isn’t located in Dyersville, Iowa and we’re not an office full of farmers, but there are a few parallels to Pro Athlete and the things mentioned above. Ever heard of the classic baseball movie Field of Dreams?

In the movie, an Iowa farmer hears voices from his corn field prompting him to build a baseball field. At Pro Athlete, we also built our own baseball field by our office.

The field was built in 2007 for employees and their families to be able to use for fun at work and practice for the kids’ teams. Instead of having to drive across the city to try and find an available ballfield, you could just walk out the door right after work for practice. So, how do you start building a baseball field at your office?

While we think we know how to sell bats online pretty well, and even some employees think they can still play a little, we know we have no clue how to build a field. So we recruited the Head Groundskeeper for the Kansas City Royals. Trevor Vance and his staff helped build the whole field, which included these features:

  • 800 tons of ag lime was used on the field

  • 160 ft down the line with a 28 ft high wall that ran to right center

  • 300 ft to the street in left

  • There was a block wall backstop

  • We had the batting practice turtle

  • We furnished all the equipment for anyone who used the field

  • Center over the roof was our parking lot

  • Had to hit one 280 ft - 300 ft to land it in the parking lot

  • A former high school baseball coach and then-employee would drag it on days there was practice. He would line it, put the bases in, and make it look perfect.

  • A bonus was that it taught the kids to hit opposite field because they all wanted to hit it on the roof.

The field was part of the Pro Athlete family for two seasons before it was taken out. It was removed because we were running out of space in the office and needed to make more room. Supposedly, we needed room to add the Pool, Cardio Room, Contact Center, and, most importantly, the Cafeteria so we could hire a chef.

However, another popular reason for the ballfield being removed is because our owner hit a moon shot over the roof and into the parking lot and dented the receptionist’s car. Take your pick of which of the stories you believe.

If you take a tour of our office, you will see where we sunk the original home plate from the field into what is now concrete with carpet on top of it in our IT Wing. The plate is in the same spot that it was back in 2007, but now it’s just inside our building.

We built it...many people came...many people played...dents were made, but, more importantly, memories were made for everyone who was fortunate enough to step on our field of dreams.

It’s Always Tournament Time At Pro Athlete

At Pro Athlete, it’s no secret that we’re competitive in everything we do. We practice speed, agility, and endurance throughout the year in our in-house weight and cardio room. The real competitive edge comes out during tournaments that we host for all of our employees each year.

Our tournaments range in skill levels and sports, including volleyball, dodgeball, and even a little ping-pong and racquetball. Our Corporate Wellness Coordinator seeks feedback from our employees on what tournament they would be interested in participating in, and he then sets up brackets and schedules games based on everyone’s skill level.

We are true believers that it’s important to step away from the computer, telephone, or shipping station and pick-up a dodgeball, paddle, or even a racquet. That’s exactly why we allow all of our employees to take a break and have some fun while on the clock. That’s what work is all about, right?

Over the last several weeks, our employees have been competing in our annual dodgeball tournament, and we’re down to the final two teams. In fact, we want to give you an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to play like a pro on our Sport Court. On Tuesday, July 25th, we will be streaming the 2017 Pro Athlete Dodgeball Championship game on Facebook Live. We are inviting you into our world for an afternoon. From start to finish, you’ll be able to view the competitive edge that our employees display both on and off the court.

After each tournament, we honor the winning team by enshrining them into the Pro Athlete Wellness Hall Of Fame. Who will be added to the wall next? 

Pro Athlete’s Take on Out-of-Office Messages

Don’t you hate that feeling when you email someone needing something and a few seconds after you hit send on your email you receive an auto responder “out of office” message?

Yes, there are “out of office” messages that are written well, but there are also some that deserve a little scrutiny. For example, if someone sets up their “out of office” message while they are on vacation because they will not have internet access for the next two weeks. First of all, I can’t imagine too many places that have no internet access. Secondly, now the person who sent the original email might feel bad that they sent you an email while on vacation even though they didn’t remember you were on vacation.

At Pro Athlete, we are an internet company, and we know the internet never sleeps. That doesn’t mean you have to be waiting anxiously by your phone all the time, but it means that we have customers from all over the country in different times zones with different needs that shouldn’t be burdened because someone here is on vacation or unavailable. We simply like to apply that same approach to our internal operations.

Think about this. You go on vacation and set your “out of office” message to say you will get back with everyone in two weeks when you return. So if that is the case, you would be fine if the person who runs payroll at your business did the same, right? You email the Payroll Specialist to say you didn’t get paid and get an “out of office” email saying they will get you paid in two weeks when they return. It’s basically the same thing, but that never happens, right? So why is it ok the other way?

Here, we know that your phone is with you 24/7. To pretend like a vacation would be ruined if you have to answer an email or two during your downtime is pretty far fetched. We don’t expect you to do a big project proposal on vacation, but we believe it’s reasonable to respond to an email inquiry without an “out of office” email to keep that personal touch. Just let that person know you might be slightly delayed, but you’ll do your best to help them.

Please don't take this the wrong way after reading the paragraph above. We encourage our employees to take vacations and time off with our Unlimited PTO plan along with our flex-time program. We just work to make this place extra special, so if someone does need you on vacation or after hours that it never feels like a burden, in fact, it feels kind of good knowing you get the chance to help someone. That's all we are saying with this. If you build it right, it won't feel like work or a burden to help someone when you are doing something else. 

We know a lot of people and companies use the “out of office” method for communication, and we are fine with it. At Pro Athlete, it just doesn’t make as much sense or fit into the way we do business. Our motto for our JustBats.com website is “Always there for you FROM CLICK TO HIT,” and we want to carry that out with our vendors and partners as well.

Tech Talk: How Technology Plays into the Pro Athlete Game Day Experience

A 130” 2x2 video wall for our new yoga studio? Check.

A self-service solution for employees to seamlessly use their ID badges to get JustBats.com and Pro Athlete gear? Done.

A need to get into a room or the building using a biometric fingerprint? No problem.

These are a few of the many examples of how technology works for us at Pro Athlete. With some engineering, design, and, most importantly, out-of-the-box thinking, we make ideas into reality while streamlining manual processes.

As you walk through Pro Athlete, you will notice digital signage, visualizations, TV’s for watching baseball games, and stereo equipment among other things. These are all systems that we have built and designed through technology to make the experience first class for our customers, guests, vendors, and employees. Embrace Innovation is one of our twelve Core Values that direct the way we do business. This arguably applies most to our technology. We recently had the idea to play a motivational song close to our shipping cut-off time as a reminder to our Distribution Center employees each night. Using some progressive thinking, we were able to accomplish this using a Raspberry Pi, A/V receiver, and IR controls to turn this fun idea into an automated solution.

We also provide a specialized technology service to our employees known as the Triple Crown Program. This program allows employees and their families to bring in anything tech-related they need to have repaired. We fix it for them at no cost outside of any materials and also provide consulting/advice for any questions they may have. This service is heavily utilized and has led the team to work on computers, phones, TVs, RC cars, and children’s toys among other things. We will attempt to fix anything we can to help our fellow teammates.

Having such a unique culture requires us to do things our way; the Pro Athlete Way. Boxed solutions to solve a problem rarely work for us here which is why we value creative thinking, resourcefulness, and problem-solving. The IT department takes pride in taking abstract ideas and turning them into working parts of the business. Having the freedom to experiment with new technology to deliver exactly what is needed equates to a tool provided to truly Embrace Innovation. With this approach, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

One for the Other Thumb: Pro Athlete Pulls Off Six-Peat In Kansas City Corporate Challenge.

We learn a lot about who we are as a company and who our employees are by stepping outside of our comfort zone both in business and in sports.

Over the last two months, members of the Pro Athlete team have been competing in the 2017 Kansas City Corporate Challenge. It was great to see many of our employees out there competing and picking up where they left off after playing high school, collegiate or even recreational sports leagues growing up.

Competing in events that test endurance, strength, and skill such as disc golf, fishing, bowling, volleyball, and tug-of-war is exactly what we did. In fact, we had 33 of our employees participate in one event or more. With so many employees competing, we were able to bring home:

  • 12 gold medals

  • 7 silver medals

  • 2 bronze medals

The employees were flat out All-Stars, especially:

  • Jodi S. brought home the most female gold medals (4)
  • Mac M. brought home the most male gold medals (5)
  • Ellen H. was our female employee that participated in the most events (18)
  • Derek R. was our male employee that participated in the most events (16)

This was the first year that we’ve won Tug-Of-War and Swimming!

We competed in the smallest division of the Corporate Challenge and squared off against some other excellent companies such as Xenometrics, Apex Sports Medicine, InQuest Marketing, The Miller Group, and Ad Astra Information Systems.

So many people ask us if they had to have played sports to be able to work here and that is not true at all. We do take the Kansas City Corporate Challenge pretty serious, but we don’t make it part of the hiring process. That would be crazy! We have applicants do a standard phone interview, in-person interview, background check, 400 M Dash, throw darts, hit a few softballs and complete a triathlon. It’s pretty much your standard hiring practices that most businesses have!

#questfor7startsnow

Challenge Accepted: Pro Athlete Employees Give Back

Baseball season is upon us and that means the YMCA Challenger baseball program is in full swing too. This year marks the tenth year of the YMCA Challenger Program. For six weeks, athletes from around Kansas City come to the Fred and Shirley Pryor Sports Complex to learn about the game, hang out with friends, and get on the field and play.

So, it seemed like another great season was coming up, and then something truly special happened. A “challenge” was issued to the employees of Pro Athlete to come out and volunteer as buddies for the baseball season. We had a few employees who volunteered in the past, but that was about it. Then, just like that, twelve Pro Athlete employees volunteered to help.

What made this so cool was that those twelve first-time volunteers were able to give back and create even stronger bonds with their coworkers at the same time. The twelve employees were all buddies on the same team. How cool is that?

This year we were in gold jerseys with our favorite baseball bat company logo on the back. No, not Dick’s Sporting Goods. JustBats.com! The athletes always get to pick the team name, and there have been some doozies. After a close vote, the team selected their name to be the Suns.

It doesn’t get much better than playing baseball with kids for six weeks. On behalf of all the volunteers from Pro Athlete, we want to thank the YMCA for giving us this opportunity to meet such amazing and talented players and strong parents and family members. While many of the parents told us how important our efforts were to their kids and themselves, we feel like we were the fortunate ones to get to meet them all.

 We thank all of these kids for teaching us so much and for their strength and resiliency.

Twelve employees set out to help teach baseball to some kids once a week and what they found was a life-changing experience, establishment of new relationships, and life-long memories. It just goes to show the power of giving back. You go in thinking you are going to help change the lives of others and you come out with your life changed in the most positive way possible!

Thank you to the Suns for the awesome shirt that we will be putting up in our office soon. We have some cool signed memorabilia in our office from famous athletes, but this one ranks up at the top!

And yes, in the video when we did our final team huddle, we did say Banana Bread, you heard it right. Lauren got to pick what we said!!!!!

Dear Dad,

Former New York Met, Bobby Bonilla is known for saying, “Kids today are looking for idols, but sometimes they look too far...They don’t have to look any farther than their home because those are the people that love you. They are the real heroes.” At Pro Athlete we strive to live each and every day with Bonilla’s quote in mind. So much so, we’ve formed one of our Core Values after it. We take the idea of putting your Family First around here very seriously. Earlier this week, we sat down with many of our employees and asked them to write letters to their fathers. See what they had to say in the video below:


Dear Dad,

Thank you for being my biggest fan, biggest disciplinarian, and biggest motivator. Our relationship hasn't always been a bed of roses, but I know that I can count on you and ask for advice about anything life may bring my way. With the middle name "Clark," I always considered you to be my own personal Clark Kent. Who needs Superman when I've got a Dad like you?

Your son,

John P.


Dear Dad,

Thank you for teaching me the value of a hard day's work, the meaning of responsibility, and the importance of honesty among other things. These qualities have helped me to be a better father, a better friend, and a better co-worker. I'm not sure how many hours we spent playing catch together growing up, but I remember the only thing that stopped us was running out of light. Happy Father's Day! Love you, Dad!

-Kaleb G.


Dear Dad,

Though most of the time we were miles apart you always made sure I knew I had your support and love no matter where I was or what I was doing.  Thank you for always taking the back roads and teaching me that the path less traveled leads to some of the greatest discoveries.

-Gypsy B.


Dear Dad,

Thank you!  You've been there when I needed you the most and you've always given me advice throughout life's journey.  You're a caring, kindhearted and funny father and both you and Mom have been my biggest supporters.  I enjoy spending time with you and am very grateful for all you've done in my life.  You've raised Kyle and I to be good men and I'm excited for the many more memories our family has coming!  I love you dad and thank you for loving me. Thank you, your son.

-Kris G.


Dear Dad,

Thank you so much for choosing to be in my life and accepting me for who I am.  I'm forever grateful for your constant support and I honestly don't know where I would be without you.  I love you so much. Thanks for everything!

-Alex W.


Dear Dad,

It is hard to put into words how much of an impact you have had on my life. Thank you for always being there for me during the best and worst of times, I can always count on you. Thank you for supporting me in everything I have done, whether that is in sports, academics and just life in general. Thank you for the countless life lessons you have taught me, I am not the person I am today without your guidance. Thank you for not only being my dad, but my coach, teacher, golf partner and friend too. Happy Fathers Day Dad!

-Kyle G.


Dear Dad,

Top of the Mornin to you....and the rest of the day to myself!

I am so thankful I am your daughter.  You have taught me how to love, laugh, work hard, play hard and have faith.  You have always put family first and for that I am grateful.  Every life lesson worth learning was on display in our house.  You and mom are amazing parents.  Thank you for your love and support, you are my hero.  

-Jodi S.


Dear Dad,

You have always been the most admired man in my life. You are kind, generous, honest, and resilient. I love your enthusiasm for life and how everything is more fun when you are around. Thank you for teaching me how to play sports, attending all my games, and supporting me in everything. Thank you for teaching me to be tough and work hard. I'm so glad you didn't treat me differently because I was a girl. Thank you for all you sacrificed for me. I have so many great memories growing up going skiing, boating, camping, fishing, canoeing, playing cards, basketball, catch, and going to ball games. And thank you for also being just as good to my boys! They adore you. We all do! I love you and will always be grateful for you!

-Pam M.


Dear Dad,

Words can’t describe how truly grateful I am for having you as my dad. I can only imagine the sacrifices you had to make as you were a just a 19 year old kid yourself when I came into your life. You took the challenge and became the definition of what a good father should be. You never missed a practice, a game, or life event. Your patience, perseverance, and fortitude molded me into the person I am today. I’ll always cherish everything we’ve done together and continue to do. I’ll always look up to you. And to top it all off, your continued love for Mom after 30 years of marriage is an inspiration. I love you dad. Thank you for being you.

- Jeramey J.


Dear Dad,

Thank you for always pushing me to be my best self, supporting me through my personal ups and downs, and giving me the freedom to find my own way. I could not have asked for a better Father / Coach / Friend. I love you, Dad!

-Mac M.


Work-Life Balance...Or Is It Just Life?

A big buzz phrase around the business world is work-life balance. Experts talk about how important it is to make sure you have a healthy balance between your job and your personal life. That is certainly one way to look at it, and for some, that might be the best way to look at it for themselves. At Pro Athlete, we have a different approach to this.

 We believe that if you create an amazing culture and an amazing place to go to work every day, then there is no work-life balance, it’s just life! At Pro Athlete, that experience doesn’t stop with you; it extends to your family and friends. We want them to be part of what we call the “Good Life” around here. Work hard, play hard, get results, and have fun at the office and at home. It’s the way we do business!

 Who made the rule that so many people seem to follow that says you should dread going into work the next day? If we knew who it was, we wouldn't be his or her biggest fan!  We have all made that moaning and groaning sound when our alarm clock goes off in the morning knowing you have to go into a job that maybe you aren’t passionate about. Because of that dreaded feeling and many other reasons, we have dedicated ourselves to try and never have anyone associated with our business feel that way again.  

Most of our employees look forward to coming into work because they have a place they can come hang out with friends, be challenged, be cared for, and accomplish goals together. To us, no balance is needed if you build it the right way. Why not make it fun and already balanced for everyone? After all, “if you build it they will come.”

George Brett steps back into the batter's box with Pro Athlete.

After 3,154 career hits, you would think Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett would be content enjoying retirement on a golf course. Instead, lucky for us, Brett dropped by Pro Athlete to provide us with some hits.

Brett is used to stopping in Pro Athlete. Months ago he dropped by to enjoy an updated tour of the facilities and lunch from Chef Nathan. And, of course, years ago he famously spent some time in our sauna.

With his renewed attention on his baseball bat company, Brett Brothers, Brett stepped back into the figurative batter’s box again. Donning a JustBats.com shirt, he spent the day filming segments about Brett Brothers’ baseball bats and Pro Athlete’s culture.

Brett even played a game in which he commented on off-the-wall topics, including Kansas City’s Eric Stonestreet, Netflix, the designated hitter, and RompHims. Stay tuned for these decidedly funny videos this summer.

Brett’s day at Pro Athlete was capped with a surprise lunch with former Royals’ teammate Fred Patek, who happened to be picking up some bats. The two enjoyed lunch and were able to catch up in our Ballpark Bistro. Pro Athlete, Inc….where pro athletes dine together. 

We enjoyed having George drop by, and we look forward to his future visits...and hits.

Bobbleheads and Disney Trips...Pro Athlete’s Recognition Program Explained

It’s not a secret that we obsess over treating our customers and employees like royalty and are constantly looking for that next new thing that might make a difference in someone's life. We do sell bats and gloves, but we like to believe we are doing a whole lot more than that. When it comes to our employees, we like to think outside of the box and continually strive to give back to them for their service and commitment to the Pro Athlete team.

As a way to honor the loyalty and tenure within our Company, we recognize employee service time milestones during our quarterly Around the Horn meetings. Without our employees, the successes of our Company would not be possible. These awards are just a small token of gratitude that we owe our employees for believing in us throughout the years. We aren’t big fans of secrets. So, we are going to give you all a sneak-peek behind the scenes at one of our favorite employee engagement programs.

Service Time Milestones and Awards:

1 Year of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Rookie Replica Gold Glove

2 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Custom Bobblehead

3 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Baseball Trophy

4 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Personalized Bat

5 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Replica Silver Slugger Award

In appreciation for ongoing service, every 5 years (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) employees will be recognized and rewarded with a trip to the Pro Athlete Disney House in Orlando, Florida for themselves and their immediate family members. We pick up the tab on: round trip Southwest airline tickets for all immediate family members, accommodations for 6 nights, 7 days. Plus, we give our employees a $3,000 payroll bonus that is added to their paycheck anytime within 30 days of your scheduled trip. 

Pro Athlete Honors Local Officers for National Police Appreciation Week

It’s never a good sign when a fleet of law enforcement officers show up on your doorstep. Except today. We had the great privilege of hosting dozens of police officers from in and around the northland today at our office to celebrate National Police Appreciation Week. It was the least we could do in return for all that they do to keep our community safe.

During their visit they laughed, they joked and they even shared stories and talked some baseball. As always, it was great to give them a tour around our facility and to have our Chef treat them to a gourmet lunch before they headed back out into their respective communities.


On behalf of everyone at Pro Athlete, we want to thank the men and women of all the police departments in the Kansas City area and all those around the world.

Dear Mom,

Copy of Dear Mom,.png

One of our Core Values is Be Thankful and we all know how important a mother can be in our lives. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we reached out to some of our employees to get a quick thought about their mothers. Check it out, we call this segment Dear Mom:


Dear Mom,

Thank you for being my biggest fan. Because of you, I am becoming the man who you raised me to be. No matter what, I know I can count on you to be there. That's the best feeling in the world.

-Greg  M. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for being my number one fan and for being the strongest person that I know!  Witnessing your strength, faith, and perseverance to overcome any obstacle that has ever stood in your way has never ceased to amaze me. Also, thank you for leading me in the right direction at a young age. It is because of you that I am able to make a living working in a field that I love. If it weren't for you networking for me while I was in high school to get a job with the Mizzou football team during college, I would have never made the connections that I've made since. You always put yourself last and for all of the aforementioned things I am forever grateful! Happy Mother's Day.

-Austin H. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for never missing a single game I played in growing up, and there were a lot. A few years ago I learned to stop telling you when my KC Corporate Challenge events were anymore because you even showed up to one of those once! I think I was the only one with their mom watching them long jump at the KC Corporate Challenge! I have never seen anyone put other people first as much as you. It’s an unbelievable trait that I am fortunate to have been exposed to growing up. Working at a company that believes in that same value has made me appreciate you teaching me that even more. You’re as resilient as they come and we are proud to call you our mother and grandmother! You the Real MVP!

-Andrew D. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for always being there for me no matter what. You have always been someone I can count on. I can't imagine being the person I am today without your love and support. Thank you so much! 

-Brett O. 


Dear Mom, 

It's impossible to put into words everything that I appreciate about you. Thank you for being there on the sidelines cheering me on in everything that I do. It doesn't go unrecognized, that you are and will continue to be my #1 fan.

-Cole S. 


Dear Mom,

Thanks for being the most selfless person I’ve ever met.  I’m truly grateful for the 15 years you spent shuttling me from game to game and practice to practice.  And you were always the loudest one there!  Thanks for being a great mom!

-Ryan W. 


Dear Mom,

Having a mother and friend like you while growing up is the greatest blessing I could have and I can’t thank you enough for shaping me into the person I am today. Thank you for the countless hugs, time spent raising our family, thank you for your laughter, for showing and spreading love to everyone around us, for the three hour traffic driving to practices every day five times a week by my side, and for even making me jealous when everyone in the team (volleyball) called you mom too because they loved you so much! Thank you for your support on the sidelines, and for teaching me to stay strong and sharp even when I am no longer walking on your side. So, here is to be raised by a strong woman that taught me and teach many others to be one and to raise one. Dear mom, I love you so much!

-Wanessa S. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me and always putting our needs before yours.  Thank you for “three/four” every weekend.  “Mema Judi” thanks for always making time to hang with our kids.  Thank you for taking a chance and starting Pro Athlete; that has changed so many lives.  You are such an awesome Mom, keep up the great work!  I love you and thank you for loving me the way you do.

-Scott H. 


Dear Mom,

Not a day goes by when I don't think of you and your amazing smile and energy for life. Even though our family has spent the last 10 Mother's Days without you, I love this great holiday because it reminds us of you and all of the great years you blessed us with. Love Always, your son.

-Chad M. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for always being my biggest supporter through the good times and the bad. You have always been there for me and I appreciate everything. There's no words that can describe how amazing you have been to me. Thank you for everything!

-John G. 

Small Business Week Capped off with Chamber Breakfast

Since 1963, the Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners from all across the country during Small Business Week. As this week comes to a close, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the opportunities that we’ve had to connect and support other small businesses in Kansas City over the last few days. We’re proud to be considered a small business and don’t take a day for granted. We realize that we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for our customers, lenders, vendors, and employees supporting us along the way.

At Pro Athlete, Inc., we’re a tight-knit group, and we like to have a lot of fun, but we also work and allow our employees to work as if they are running their own business. Many other great companies around Kansas City and the world have similar practices, and we are fortunate to get to learn from them. Recently, we have been able to get an up-close seat to learn a lot about nine other amazing KC Companies. How? Here is how!

We were fortunate enough to be recognized as one of the Top 10 Small Businesses in Kansas City by the KC Chamber of Commerce. The process is long and detailed, but very fun and informative.

While we are beyond honored to be in this class, we are also very lucky to get the chance to learn from some of KC’s finest businesses. From engineering firms to website developers, the companies represented were great. The CEOs of the top ten companies got together for a panel discussion on Thursday morning to provide more insight into their businesses. We were fortunate to be on-hand to hear from all of the talented and inspirational CEOs.

We want to thank the KC Chamber of Commerce for including us in this group. The hard work of the Chamber team is something truly special. The Chamber team and the judges have a difficult decision in front of them with these amazing finalists.

We also want to congratulate the other honorees:

Alpha Energy & Electric Inc.

Andrews McMeel Universal

BHC RHODES

Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, A/C & Rooter

Code Koalas

Heritage Biologics, Inc.

KC Restoration

Paleterias Tropicana

Weave Gotcha Covered!  

During this process, we learned a lot about these companies and can’t thank them enough for what they have taught us and for what they are doing for business in Kansas City. The future of entrepreneurship and small businesses in Kansas City is looking “royally” great with companies like this leading the charge!

Pro Athlete’s Farm System Looking Strong After Epic “Take Your Child To Work Day”

We were blessed to get a chance to look deep into our farm system yesterday as fifteen kids came to Pro Athlete for Take Your Child to Work Day. We call it Rookie Day around here and we don’t do your typical routine of having them sit at a desk and watch their parents type all day.

The festivities kicked off like any sporting event, with the announcement of the starting lineups as each kid was announced and ran through a spirit tunnel of employees. From there, a local children’s book author read 3 books to the group and signed copies for everyone. Be sure to check out No Tooting at Tea by Alastair Heim! Great books for kids by a local author! There was also face painting, swimming, a makeshift movie theater on our racquetball court, volleyball, a bounce house, some helped our chef make lunch for the employees, and some even helped out in our shipping department.

Check out this video to get a behind-the-scenes look at all the fun:

Salvy Makes a “Splash” for Pro Athlete Employees

At Pro Athlete, we are very fortunate to get to do a lot of really cool things. Last Friday was another one of those times. Four Pro Athlete employees were given the honor of presenting Royals’ All-Star Catcher Salvador Perez with his Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards from the 2016 season.

This has been something that has become the norm since 2011. If a Royals’ player wins a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger, it is usually a member of our team on the field to give it out. We have to send a big shout out to our partners Rawlings and Louisville Slugger for giving us these amazing opportunities.

For those of you who know Pro Athlete, you know we have a very casual and relaxed dress code. For the ceremony, it was suggested to wear a suit and tie. Probably to the surprise of many of you reading this, the employees did have suits and ties and when it was all said and done, they looked presentable!

Before going on the field for the presentation, all the people who will be doing any pregame presentations are put in the media room to go over the details. It was a great honor to be in the room with members of our military and the person who would later sing the National Anthem. After that, all that is left is the walk from the media room to the tunnel and onto the field.

Now for a brief look into the minds of the Pro Athlete employees as they walk on the field and take their places for the presentation:

“Oh wow, there are a lot of people here.!”

“Don’t trip, just don’t trip”

“Don't step on the chalk line”

“Don’t drop this Silver Slugger or you will be on a blooper reel on youtube in minutes”

“Wow, that is really Salvy right here beside. I’m short”

“Dang, this Gold Glove award is heavy and hard to pick up. Just stay calm, it’s just 40,000 people watching you fumble this award.”

“I am glad we don’t have to wear suits to work everyday”

“Oh, that was a nice wave when they called his name, I think I will do that.”

“Am I really doing this right now?”

“You know you work at Pro Athlete, when you get to do this!”

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Salvy was just as advertised. He was cracking jokes and was very thankful for the awards he was given. You see him on TV and see the passion and excitement he plays with and that held true during the presentation. He really did make a splash in the lives of those employees who were on the field for the presentation. Pro Athlete wants to thank Salvy for that.

The entire Royals staff was amazing and very helpful and organized during the whole thing. We want to thank them all! We were also very fortunate to get to share the moment with another one of our employees who also works for the Royals. He was in the Rawlings truck that drove the Gold Glove up to home plate.

Check out some pictures below!

#YouKnowYouWorkAtProAthleteWhen…..

Photos Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals & The Kansas City Star

Pro Athlete’s First Employee Lands Dream Job

Few people can say they were the first employee at a company unless they were an owner or founder. Even fewer people can say that they were a key part of getting the business up and running and on a path for growth from the beginning. In this blog post, you will meet employee #1 at Pro Athlete and learn a little about his journey and how that journey has lead him to his dream job.

Meet Dave Baker, Parkville, MO native and Pro Athlete’s first ever employee. For thirteen years Dave worked at Pro Athlete while holding every job you can imagine. He answered phones, shipped products, planned events, bought bats and gloves, and even painted the walls. He was the definition of a true team player. Pro Athlete was like home for Dave, and he made sure that all of our business partners felt the same way about Pro Athlete. He was a master at building relationships.

Throughout his time working at Pro Athlete, Dave also coached football and baseball on the side to feed his passion for coaching and working with kids. As the years passed, that passion for helping kids on the field became a big focus for Dave. At that point, he knew he was meant to be in education and as amazing as Pro Athlete was, he had a bigger calling. In 2013 he left Pro Athlete in pursuit of his dream to become a full-time teacher/coach. He went back and finished up his education and worked some part-time teaching jobs here and there at the same time.

With all of the experience and education behind him, he was able to land his dream job as a Middle School Special Education teacher within the Platte County school district. In addition to his time during the school day, he’ll also assist in the coaching of both varsity football and baseball. Dave credits Pro Athlete and is thankful for the time he was able to spend in the early years of what was then Pro Athlete Sporting Goods.

“My time at Pro Athlete really did help me get to where I am today. I learned a lot; I learned the most about chasing your dreams and figuring out what you really want to do. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to serve a purpose to local athletes, and my community. That’s exactly what I’m able to do.”

In 2016 Dave was inducted into the Pro Athlete, Inc. inaugural Hall of Fame class. Dubbed The Giver in his Hall of Fame bio, Dave’s legacy at Pro Athlete will live on forever. We want to congratulate Dave on his recent Hall of Fame induction and also for landing his dream job. From employee #1 to Hall of Fame member and now to educator and coach. What an amazing path for an amazing person!

Once A Pro, Always A Pro is a saying we use around here a lot. It’s pretty easy to see why!

If KC Corporate Challenge Banners Could Talk….

It's a safe bet to say that at Pro Athlete, we take the Kansas City Corporate Challenge pretty serious. We have been fortunate to have some very gifted and dedicated employees who have put it all on the line the past 5 years, resulting in 5 straight championships. We love it so much, we decided to design and hang championship banners in the rafters in our gym at work.

If KC Corporate Challenge banners could talk, the 2016 banner would be begging the good people of Pro Athlete for a neighbor to its west. Check out the picture below and be sure to check out the KC Corporate Challenge results all season long. KCCC is one of the coolest things for businesses in Kansas City. Let the games begin!

PS - If you are in our Stay Connected group, please come by our tailgate spot at the KCCC Kick-Off Tailgate on Friday April 7th. We are located at B-1.