Going to Bat: Scott Hedrick of Pro Athlete
The nation's largest online dealer of baseball bats
Scott Hedrick was a talented ballplayer and a new college graduate when he went to work at his parent's small sporting good store in 1987.
A dozen years later, Hedrick had taken the reigns as president, and Pro Athlete had grown to be the largest baseball equipment supplier in north Kansas City. Rather than open another brick-and-mortar location, Hedrick did something few local retailers at that time dared — he took Pro Athlete’s business online.
“We sell thousands of baseball bats a year online by delivering exceptional service. Commerce provides us with technology and solutions that support our growth and help keep our cash flow strong.”
With exemplary customer service as its focus, the company thrived, outgrowing one space after another over the next 12 years. Today, from its 55,000-square-foot headquarters, Pro Athlete operates six e-commerce sites, selling every Major League-approved bat and glove available. Its customers range from Little League and high school athletes, to college players, sports agents and pros.
As Pro Athlete’s business has grown, so have the company’s banking needs. “We didn’t realize all that we had been missing until we moved our business to Commerce in 2011,” Hedrick says. The bank’s first task was to refinance the loan on the new building Pro Athlete built in 2010. “That alone will save us $200,000 in interest costs,” he said.
Commerce is saving Pro Athlete time and money on its day-to-day banking needs as well. “The thousands of bats and gloves we sell each year are paid for with checks, credit cards or PayPal,” says Hedrick. “It's great to have a bank that brings us ideas on how to better manage these transactions as we grow.”