9.16.19

BUILDING A NEW BUSINESS MODEL

An All-Student Partnership, a new logo, and a reimagined school store help drive Vallejo High School revenue

Working on a tight budget, Vallejo High School has come up with an innovative way to capitalize on its All-Student Partnership uniform program and increase revenues for the school.

Vallejo High School Spirit Gear

Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach Josh Ramos runs the athletic department like a business. When he took over as AD three years ago and looked at the operation, Ramos realized the school needed to visually upgrade the Redhawks logo, consolidate athletic purchases to get a larger discount, and enter into an All-Student Partnership Nike uniform deal. The annual rebates from the deal allow Vallejo to stock the school store with Nike gear branded with the new Vallejo logo.

“Each sport used to individually buy whatever was on sale,” Ramos says. “We decided to go to Eastbay Team Sales, and Matt Pantazes, an Eastbay Area Sales Manager, helped us put an all-school program together around Nike. It was a great opportunity to partner with Eastbay and Nike. The whole school has head-to-toe Nike gear — the band, phys ed. classes, leadership classes…”

Working with Eastbay, Vallejo created an on-campus school store stocked with Nike product such as hoodies, backpacks, shorts, tees, and hats branded with the new logo. “We sold out of everything at orientation,” Ramos says. “We bought back into more product, and it’s gone again. The kids love it.”

The plan was for Vallejo to maximize its uniform purchase with Eastbay each year and use the Eastbay rebate to stock the store, Ramos says. “It took just one year to build our rebate level, and since 100% of the rebate goes to restocking the student store, we don’t have to pay anything additional for student store product,” he says.

Selecting product for the store is done by a leadership steering committee made up of Ramos, Activities Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Andrew Johansen, and Head Finance Officer and Women’s Soccer Coach Mallory Walton. (The three are frequent collaborators on larger athletic department decisions as well.)

Sales aren’t limited to students. A physical school store is set up at athletic events to sell Vallejo-branded gear to parents, supporters, and alumni.

Small Business Challenges

For Ramos, the parallels to the business world range beyond driving revenue for the school.

“As I look at the athletic department as a small business, I’m the owner, and my job is to train everybody,” Ramos says. “My job is to get the coaches on the same page, teach our kids how to conduct themselves, set the expectations, and establish the procedures.”

Challenges vary each year, Ramos says. Finding great coaches is the first priority and setting up regular communication with them follows suit.

Vallejo hosts one large meeting at the beginning of the year with every coach, assistant, and volunteer to get everyone acclimated with new rules and new staff. In addition, Ramos meets with coaches three times a year for the fall, winter, and spring sports programs.

“We also have pre- and post-season meetings with coaches to review performance, to discuss what they want to accomplish for the season, and whether they met those goals,” Ramos says. “It’s a very positive atmosphere. Every coach needs to receive constructive feedback on their performance through someone else’s eyes to help them build their program.”

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