Teams have always been the center of Team Gear’s business model. Jeff Rappaport was working in retail sporting goods, but wanted to try his hand at making the apparel himself. Jeff and his wife Dana began Team Gear as an embroidery company, serving the sports team and school markets in 2003. They had one 6-head embroidery machine and one 2-head embroidery machine with the hope to grow. Now the business offers specialized screen printing, embroidery and even laser engraving to sports teams. “We offer the complete uniform head to toe,” Jeff Rappaport, owner of Team Gear, Inc., says.
Team Gear prides themselves on offering high quality products from the best brands including Under Armour, Alleson Athletic, Warrior and Brine for their specialized team apparel. In order to offer their customers everything in the decorated apparel spectrum, financing became a big part of their expansion into new product markets. “I’m in the decorating business, not the equipment business,” Jeff says. “We need a partner in that business that we trust.” Since that partnership began, the business boasts 19 pieces of equipment, 25 employees and a 12,000 sq. ft. work space. Combining forces with Beacon has helped Team Gear become a one-stop-shop for all sports apparel.
Team Gear Snapshot
- Decorated apparel business established in 2003 in Whippany, NJ
- Offers screen printing and embroidery for team-related apparel
- Started as a husband and wife with 2 embroidery machines
- Expanded to 25 employees, 19 pieces of equipment, and 12,000 sq ft
- Beacon Funding financed 21 leases, including 7 screen printers, 4 embroidery machines, 2 gas dryers, and some laser printers and software
- Gross sales continue to grow 20%+ a year
The Complete Package
Team Gear was established in 2003 as an embroidery business in Whippany, NJ. Fourteen years later, they have expanded to screen printing, laser engraving, direct to substrate and more. They design, create, produce, package, and send products all under one roof.
“What makes Team Gear different is we’re a complete service business. At Team Gear we like to control the whole process from start to finish.”
Some of this complete service includes timely shipping, an online platform for team organizers, and full uniform packages. Being their own distributor gives them flexibility to cater to their customers’ needs. Having an online store and full packages helps their customers’ organizations take the pain out of uniform assembly. This way a teammate will order from the team’s store then get the full uniform delivered with shoes, accessories, etc., without hassle. “Our customers are buying the service, the convenience of a full package. We take a big group and make it small,” Jeff says. Besides uniforms, Team Gear offers unique services like UV printing, dye sublimation, and laser printing, creating products like poker chips, golf balls, and print banners. This diversity is courtesy of the equipment they’ve acquired over the years with Beacon. “Beacon has been a wonderful source of funding and provider of used equipment where we can save some money and ultimately add to our bottom line,” Rappaport says.
Movin' On Up With Financing
Team Gear has been with Beacon since the beginning, working with them since 2004. Embroidery equipment vendor Barudan suggested Beacon due to the lender’s expertise. “My rep is an expert; I value his opinion,” Jeff says. The business’ financing experience began with embroidery equipment, then expanded tenfold, financing 21 leases, including embroidery machines, screen printers, gas dryers, laser printers and software. “Beacon is our partner in financing,” Rappaport says. “They have a stake in the equipment. They want to make sure we get the right product.”
The financing exchange has become old hat for Jeff. Now he receives paperwork within 24 hours and the deal is good to go. This doesn’t mean the business didn’t have its ups and downs. Team Gear had a major move in 2015 from their previous building to a much larger 12,000 sq. ft. space. They were contemplating how to finance their move, so they we went to Beacon Funding. Beacon stepped up and showed confidence in the equipment Team Gear purchased, unlike a bank or other vendors.
“It was nice to see that the investment we had made was able to be used as collateral for new financing. Beacon went out of-the-box of a typical financing company and became our partner.”
Team Gear was able to use their assets as collateral to pay for their expansion due to Beacon’s trust. Beacon cared about the business’ move and wanted to have a stake in its success.
Pump Up the Volume Growing and Growing
Team Gear provides the best full package uniform experience for teams due to their high quality production and machines. From working with a few clients to making 100-1,000 pieces at a time on their new equipment, Team Gear has no sign of slowing down. Since their big move, their gross sales continue to grow 20 percent or more a year. “We’ve come a long way since 2003 with the help of Beacon Funding,” Jeff says.
Thank you to Team Gear for participating in Beacon Funding's Success Spotlight program. The Success Spotlight program gives Beacon customers and partners a chance to shine with recognition of their equipment financing success. This is achieved through enhanced exposure and free nationwide publicity through Beacon's online channels. To learn more about the program click here.