is quickly becoming popular in the Southland area for . Yet, there is much more to this Frankfort business than a location for people to meet their favorite athletes.
Here's a look at a business that's been around for more than a decade but in Frankfort for only a few months.
History: Triple Threat Sports has been in business since April 2000. Owner Christopher Hubble originally opened the store in Mokena on 194th Place in an industrial space.
"Retail was always part of the bigger picture, but when we first started, we were mainly with wholesale lettering [for sports apparel]," said Hubble who had clients across the country.
After six years in that location, the store moved to a larger space in Mokena in 2006. Hubble also opened a small, 1,000-square-foot retail store in front of the warehouse in the same location. However, it did not do great business.
"It was in a terrible location," Hubble said. "No one could find it. With that in mind, we had some success with it."
The store had built a customer base, though, so Hubble decided to open a location at 191st Street and LaGrange Road in April 2008. While there, traffic dropped after other nearby businesses started moving out.
"The writing was on the wall in the middle of 2011," Hubble said of the situation.
When looking around for new places to relocate, caught the company's eye. "We thought it would be a perfect marriage for us," Hubble said. While both stores draw the same types of customers—sports enthusiasts—they don't sell the same merchandise.
"With the economy the way it is, you're going to want help from your neighbor," Hubble said. "We only moved a mile south of where we were, so we could still accommodate existing customers."
Who is the Owner? Christopher Hubble graduated from DePaul University with a degree in communications in radio and TV. But he said he thought the sports retail industry offered him a better lifestyle than a media job.
"I had an internship with a record label and radio station, but I wasn't going to make any money doing it," Hubble said.
Hubble has been working in sporting good stores since 1991, and he claims to have always had a passion for sports.
What Makes This Business Special? "For the retail side of things, we're a family business," Hubble said. "When you walk in here, you're going to see the same people all of the time."
Hubble also explained that all of the team apparel from local youth softball teams to minor-league hockey teams are done in-house.
Social Media is the Future of Advertising: Sixty-four percent of business owners believe that social media marketing is a promising tactic, according to Facebook marketing company Pagemodo. Hubble is a part of that group.
"Social media isn't just important in this industry, it's the future of promotion and advertising, in my opinion," said Hubble, who claims to run 90 percent of Triple Threat Sports social media operations himself. "Everyone has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, et cetera. But the key to having them is using them."
Triple Threat Sport's Facebook page held a contest recently, where customers guessed who would be the store's next signing guest for a chance to win a free autograph ticket to the signing and a 8x10 photo of the player. (It was White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana.)
"The reason we do contests like that is to generate some buzz before we announce a signing," Hubble said of the contest post that reached more than 1,000 people and generated more 130 comments, according to Facebook Insights. "It's nice to get people talking about us, and spending some time on the Triple Threat Sports Facebook page. If we give something back to people, it gives them some incentive to participate and come back."
Plans to Move Already? "We would love to expand," Hubble said. "We're hoping that we're only in the 1,500-foot space we're in now for a year."
The company does not plan on moving that far, though.
"Hopefully, we can move some place bigger within the same strip mall by this time next year," Hubble said. "We'd really like to do a better job of our [company-made product] sales, too."
THURSDAY, JULY 5
Who: White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale
When: 6 to 7 p.m. (time is tentative because of the White Sox's day game)
How much: Advance autograph tickets are $29 for any item, $15 for inscriptions (limit one per item; inscriptions will not be added to signed items). Tickets will be $35 day of the appearance.
SATURDAY, JULY 7
Who: White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana
When: 10 to 11 a.m.
How much: $15 for an autograph ticket, and $25 for two tickets.
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