For this Fireside Chat, I got the opportunity to speak with Bill Keane, founder of Lacrosse Republic (a LaxAllStars.com sponsor!). Lacrosse Republic has been selling some of the most original lax gear around since 2008. But in addition to slinging gear, Bill and the other fine fellas over at Lacrosse Republic are doing some big things in New Jersey, truly living the mantra of ‘Grow The Game’.
CH: What is Lacrosse Republic? How did your company start, where did it start, and who started it?
Bill Keane: Lacrosse Republic started as a retail shop in West Deptford, NJ in August 2008. The company was founded by me, Bill Keane. I had been involved with the local youth lacrosse programs for many years prior. As the sport continued to grow, there was simply nowhere to shop other than going to a big sporting goods store, where the selection was poor and the employees did not know the product.
Where did the name Lacrosse Republic and your logo come from?
Bill Keane: We wanted a name that really let people know that we were all in for the game. The name and logo were developed with the idea that lacrosse is more than a sport to those who are involved in it. Lacrosse is a way of life. Lacrosse players want people to know they are lacrosse players. So, we thought what type of name would capture this? We came up with the idea of a Republic – a nation of laxers. Hence, Lacrosse Republic.
What sets your store and website apart from all of the other gear stores?
Bill Keane: We are a small outfit that stays as dynamic as possible. We have 3 people that work for us and everyone contributes. We designed the website and we fulfill all of the orders ourselves. We also design and print our own apparel. We run teamlaxrepublic.com, and we work the retail shop too. We don’t have designers, a marketing department, or an accounting department – we do it all ourselves.
We try our best to stay away from some of the mass-produced goods. Especially the ones that use hokey marketing campaigns with sexual innuendo – corny. We support small lacrosse companies and start-ups such as Epoch Lacrosse (their Dragonfly line is sick and is killing it) and Reversible Lifestyle. Of course, there are some companies that just do it right and we are proud to carry their products and support them too.
LaxAllStars.com is built around one goal – to “Grow The Game.” How does Lacrosse Republic help Grow The Game in New Jersey (and beyond)?
Bill Keane: We are all very involved with the game in New Jersey. I have volunteered my time on the Executive committee for the local lacrosse league, I’m a volunteer lacrosse coach in a local lacrosse program, and I’m also the Vice President for a local youth lacrosse program. I also started the Shamrocks Lacrosse Club in 2007 with 2 teams. There are now currently 11 teams.
One cool piece of the Shamrocks program is that all of the high school players are required to participate in volunteer activities. This year we currently have a player coordinating his 2nd Annual Food Drive. Another player is doing a Shoe Drive for Souls for Souls. There are also 2 players that have started a Used Equipment Drive. They are going to donate the used equipment to the local lacrosse programs to help them get more players into the sport. We try to get everyone involved with not only making the game better, but making our communities better.
Jason, our store manager, has been a volunteer coach at the youth and high school levels in the area for the past 4 years. Jason works with the local high school players in the off-season since the high school coaches can not. He also volunteers his time to run a Scoopers Program for little laxers in the Spring. You can usually find Jason in the shooting room teaching young laxers the finer points of shooting.
What are some of the best selling items in your store?
Bill Keane: The STX Super Power still kills it, and the Maverik Rome gloves are also doing really well. The Epoch Dragonfly line has caught fire over the last 2 weeks.
What is your number one selling brand right now?
Bill Keane: Our top selling brand is STX Lacrosse.
Before we let you go, we have to ask: Do you have any “insider news” on gear/company innovations that are about to launch for the 2012 season?
Bill Keane: A certain new lacrosse helmet manufacturer should be sublimating their helmets this coming year. This will make customization unreal.
And finally, where are you located and what is the contact information?
P. 856.853.8787 F. 856.853.1888
711 Mantua Pike (rt. 45)
West Deptford NJ 08096
(Located between 25 Burgers and Popeyes)
Wow!! A lacrosse store completely run by fellow laxers, a requirement for the players on the Lacrosse Republic team to volunteer, they stay away from terrible marketing campaigns, and a helmet company is going to be SUBLIMATING helmets soon?!?! I’m going to have to call myself flabbergasted, because there is a lot to soak up from this one. Make sure to check out the LR website and if you find yourself in New Jersey, you best be getting yourself off the shore and into this store!
Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on the details, Bill!