Military Reservist Makes it as an Online Sports Business Entrepreneur

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Read how a Small Business Owner passed the critical two year test. In a time when most small businesses fail Johnny Lew's Sports grew.

The idea for Johnny Lew’s Sports (http://www.johnnylew.com) was born in Kandahar Afghanistan while Major John Lewandowski, United States Air Force Reserve was deployed as the Deputy Commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Group. “I was on my way out the base on a training mission thinking, what am I going to do when I get home that will top this”?

Having his Bachelors Degree in Business and Masters in Accounting he knew how businesses worked. He just needed to find what kind of business. “I love sports, being in Buffalo New York you are naturally born a Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres fanatic, by default you will follow the Yankees, but Football and Hockey are in Buffalonians blood”, said Lewandowski. So he combined his business sense with his love of sports.

Being deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and later to Baghdad Iraq he thought there was nothing that could stop him. “I wanted to do something I enjoyed and some people even questioned why would I get into such a competitive market, well honestly, after being deployed I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from trying and here two years later we have grown our business over 100% from the prior first quarter – the toughest for retailers”, added Lewandowski.

Johnny Lew’s Sports has a small retail location, but the web offers the world of sports as a potential market for Johnny Lew’s. “We sell a ton of Sabres and Bills merchandise, but we also sell the Dallas Cowboys fan in Denver merchandise direct to their door. It is cost prohibitive for most traditional sports merchandise retailers to carry all products, all teams, all leagues in a brick and mortar store, but with our central warehouse and terrific manufacturer relationships, we get the displaced 49ers fan in Boston his San Francisco merchandise delivered direct to their door”, Lewandowski said.

What was the secret to getting past the point where most small business start-ups fail? Understanding that customers are the heart of the business. Johnny Lew’s Sports is not naïve and expect customers to appreciate the service and low prices and quick shipping. “Many businesses say they value your business, but actions will always speak louder than words, you owe it to the customers to provide great customer service, if your out of stock – tell them right away with the anticipated delivery date – give the customer a little something for their troubles and show them your appreciation – don’t just say it. That’s the key to success.” Lewandowski said enthusiastically. He added, “The bigger the company the less – care – goes into the individual customer. We are small enough that I care about the customer and the transaction. I feel the larger the business the focus is on getting more transactions and less on the individual customer transaction, you can see this in customer ratings for small vs. larger businesses.”

Lewandowski concluded, “I want to Thank all of our customers who trusted us to fill their order and deliver an exciting product. We are by no way the biggest, but we are enjoying our steady growth, we must be doing something right, our customer reviews (available at http://www.johnnylew.com) are tremendous. Also, a sincere Thank YOU to all that I served with in the 451st AEG, Kandahar and the MNC-I, Camp Victory South Baghdad – and for all those who provided kind words of encouragement. God Bless”

Johnny Lew’s Sports can be viewed by going to http://www.johnnylew.com. Johnny Lew’s offers NFL MLB NHL NBA and NCAA merchandise. From Flags, License Plates, Clocks, Trash Cans, Blankets and more, every league and every team is represented. Johnny Lew’s Sports offers a low flat rate shipping of $5.99 for the first item and $2.25 each additional, even on clocks. Visit their website to see other items and special offers, just in time for Father’s Day.

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John Lewandowski
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