Interview with Brenda Lehan of S.O.A.S. Apparel & Design. Interview conducted by Sammie Musielak
SAMMIE: What was the original inspiration for Sports of all Sorts?
BRENDA: Sports of all Sorts was a sporting goods store when we started in 1984. My parents bought Maury Meyers Sports and we changed the name to Sports of All Sorts. Not only did we have a full line of sporting goods we also provided screen printing and embroidery services.
S: How has Sports of all Sorts evolved to meet the needs of the community?
B: Over the years we changed from sporting goods to decoration services to specialize in what we do best. Lots of big box stores were in the area selling sporting goods so we felt that specializing was the way to go to excel and grow. This change made us change our name to S.O.A.S. Apparel & Design. We continue to offer screen printing services, embroidery services and iron on lettering services. More recently we have started offering gift giving services. We are licensed for several Fraternities/Sororities and also internally licensed for NIU. We have started offering online stores for organizations and fundraising to help our customers better promote their groups. With the pandemic we also started making masks.
S: What kinds of services does Sports of all Sorts currently offer?
B: We currently offer Embroidery, Apparel Printing (screen printing, iron on lettering) , and gifting services.
S: What are some of your most popular products?
B: All things personalized are our best sellers. These include Spiritwear, gifts, teams, etc. Our popular products vary depending on the time of year we are in. Currently we are doing a lot of things for the Fraternities and Sororities that have pledge classes that are crossing. Also spring and summer sport teams uniforms and spiritwear.
S: How can customers order from Sports of all Sorts?
B: Ordering from us can be done via in person, e-mail, and our online stores.
S: The pandemic has made it difficult for small businesses. How has the pandemic affected Sports of all Sorts?
B: At first we had to stop and figure out what was the best way to proceed. We started to examine what needed to change and we pivoted to find ways to best communicate with our customers. As a result we have redone our website to give our customer a better understanding of what we do. We have offered curbside pickup and contactless checkout. We have expanded out product lines and are still working and changing things as the opening of the community changes.
S: Are there any upcoming deals or specials that customers should know about?
B: We will be doing a variety of new items for graduation, mothers day, fathers day, vacations, etc. Also over the summer we will be starting to add to our back to school lines of spiritwear. As we add to our product lines we will be clearancing out the old lines via sidewalk sales and other ways.
Check out S.O.A.S. Apparel & Design online here: https://soasdekalb.com/