Get In The Pit with Chris Guertin (Sport Resource Group)

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Chris Guertin is the man behind the action at Sport Resource Group. Based in Minneapolis, MN, SRG was created to give customers in the recreation industry a choice when it comes to ice hockey, lacrosse, inline hockey, gaga and soccer containment systems and accessories. The mission of Sport Resource Group is to provide high quality products to recreation professionals at affordable prices complimented by the best customer service in the industry. The company offers the highest quality customizable containment systems, portable boundaries and rink solutions to fit your needs. Whether you play box lacrosse, gaga, indoor soccer, inline hockey, cross ice hockey or dek hockey, Sport Resource Group has the products you need to make it official.

Sport Resource Group was founded by Chris and Maria Guertin in 2006. Chris has spent almost 20 years in the sports and recreation field. Beginning with internships for CBS Sports and the Florida Marlins, Chris learned the value of presenting a professional product on a consistent basis and parlayed that experience into a stint as World Tournament Coordinator for the National Inline Hockey Association (NIHA). From its inception in 1993 until its successful merger with USA Hockey Inline in 1996, the NIHA built its membership database from nothing to over 60,000 players, coaches and referees. In 1996 Chris joined the group at In-Line Sport Systems Inc (ISSI) to organize and run its successful Border Patrol Rink Systems division. After developing additional programs such as the Cross Ice Hockey program in the late 90’s with USA Hockey, Chris was ready for a new challenge. From 2004 through the beginning of 2007, Chris served as the Sales Manager for the Southeast and International regions for a local hockey company. Through those years he made many valuable friendships, forged valuable relationships with vendors and customers and developed the skills needed to consistently deliver the best possible products to recreation industry on a consistent basis. That experience combined with a passion for sports was the motivation behind Sport Resource Group.

Chris and his wife, Maria, live in Minneapolis, MN, where they can often be found playing floor hockey with their twin daughters, Savannah and Sylvia, and son, Owen.

         

When I first met Chris back in 2014, I was a junior at West Chester University, trying to get my club of Gaga (Israeli dodgeball) off the ground and into a full-time college level sport on both competitive and non-competitive levels. Hopefully West Chester University of PA will embrace the SRG way and get their own purple and gold ProWall Gaga Pit for students to hold tournaments, fundraisers and recreational activities. With the help of people like Chris, gaga can someday become a common sport across many more colleges in the US. Go Chris!

Gaga Pit:

https://www.facebook.com/Sportresourcegroup/videos/645994458781867/

You’ve been at this for a while now. How many schools and colleges use your ProWall and containment system products? What about camps, parks and recreation centers across the country?

Actually, that is an interesting question. We don’t know the real answer because we tout our ProWall System as being super-versatile. We’ll hear stores of a system that we sold as a gaga pit and now the school is using it for indoor soccer or vice versa. Overall we have over 1,100 customers and aim to add hundreds more per year. Colleges, elementary schools, parks departments and camps are our most common customers

What makes SRG stand out is the magnificent types of ProWall systems you offer, which can be customized to match school colors. And I could’ve sworn I saw Swarthmore and another college in the Midwest use ProWall setups. Which colleges have embraced your gaga pit?

Dozens and dozens of colleges use ProWall in a variety of ways. The Ohio State University (see picture) had a gaga pit made in custom colors and uses it for their own students as well as community outreach. Other schools (Arizona State University, for example) use it in the dorm and residential areas as a fun, fast way to get students together. 

What made you want to start Sport Resource Group? Where did you get the idea for a niche in customized boundary systems?

It was actually an easy decisions. There were a lot of companies out there chasing large clients with a lot of prestige and press when the projects were finished. Unfortunately, organizations like colleges, Boys and Girls clubs, YMCAs and military bases were falling through the cracks. The beauty of the ProWall System is that some of our smallest gaga pits can be purchased for $3,000 and the customer can add on to it from there.

 

If I’m a college or recreation center interested in a gaga ball pit, I’m probably concerned about space and weather damage – how easy is it to take apart and store a portable boundary system?

These are easy answers and rather than take my word for it, we refer people to our website and YouTube channel to see videos. The systems can be set up in a matter of minutes. They can also be disassembled and made smaller or added on to since every piece is interchangeable with every other piece. For weather, we bake almost 16,000 hours of UV inhibitors into every part. The vast majority of our installations are outside, so that means that we have hundreds and hundreds of customers using ProWall in the sun, snow and rain and they love it!

Whether it’s for hockey or gaga, what’s the ordering and manufacturing process like for a custom colored indoor/outdoor portable boundary system? Can you walk us through that process?

We always work with the customer and meet them at their comfort level. Some customers prefer to call in and get a quote which is then created and emailed or faxed to them. Others prefer to use our online store and we’re happy to do it that way, too. Overall, most Natural color gaga pits and soccer/hockey rinks can ship in a few days. Custom color systems take about four weeks to create. 

How many people work at SRG?

We have four workers here and a dog (Opie)! Maria is our VP of Accounting, Whitney is our Ops Manager and Kate is our Office Manager. They all do a great job and SRG would not have the success we have had without such a great team!

When you’re not out promoting your company at trade shows or conferences, what are you doing?

Our family is very active. Not only do we sell sports equipment, we also play many sports. Our children are active in lacrosse, volleyball, drama, basketball and more. We enjoy spending time with them because we know the time is short and they will be off on their own soon.

It’s amazing how your products have brought people together. What does the future hold for Sport Resource Group?

Our goal is to get more ProWall Systems out in to the public. We feel every college, kids club, private sports center, elementary school, military installation, summer camp and basically anywhere that kids flock to should have a ProWall System.

Anything else we should know about Chris Guertin or Sport Resource Group?

We just want all of our customers to know that when they are dealing with Sport Resource Group, they are dealing with a vendor who is just as passionate as they are about sports. We love the active lifestyle and truly believe in the power of sports and fun to unite a community!

https://sportresourcegroup.com

https://www.facebook.com/Sportresourcegroup/

Chris, thank you so much for your time. I truly believe you’re saving the sport of gaga one purchase at a time. Keep on doing your thing, and hopefully one day my alma mater will take notice that gaga has a place in intramural sports on the college level.

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