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Meet the Military Veteran Who Found Success in Resale Franchising

As a third-generation military veteran, Erich Krumrei knows all about hard work, dedication and leadership. With his grandfather in the Navy during WWII and father in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, he joined the Marine Corps after college and was stationed in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, where he served as a Captain for five years.

Once he started a family and his three kids became involved in different sports, he realized how quickly they were outgrowing their apparel and equipment. He spoke to other parents who were experiencing the same issue and discovered Play It Again Sports®, where he became a frequent customer.

He wished there was a closer one to his community for Forest Park, IL, so last year, he decided to fill the gap in the market himself by becoming a Play It Again Sports franchisee.

Transitioning into Entrepreneurship

As a lifelong sports enthusiast, Erich was a high school athlete, has run several marathons, and wanted to provide opportunities for other young athletes to pursue what they love.

“I remember reading somewhere that kids coming from lower income homes are six times more likely to stay out of sports because of the cost,” he explained.

“When my kids were growing up, I never wanted to throw away their sports equipment because I knew there were so many in need. We’d always give it to neighbors, friends or recycle it.”

Erich wanted to be his own boss, and Play It Again Sports gave him the opportunity to combine that desire with his passion for sports. From sharing best practices to putting him in touch with other franchisees and preparing him for his grand opening, Winmark - the Resale Company® made Erich’s transition into entrepreneurship seamless.

“The Winmark team was very supportive through the entire process,” he explained. “They were able to break things down in an easy way that I could understand.”

Building a Strong Team

When it was time to build his team for his resale store, Erich wanted to hire employees who shared his values of giving back to the community.

“I see my business as a continuation of my service to the community at a local level,” he explained. “I want to run it with people who get just as excited to help players and their families find everything they need to be able to do what they love.”

With the help of Winmark’s resources, he hired a diverse workforce of people with different backgrounds.

He credits the invaluable skills he learned in the military for helping him run his business, such as leadership, organization, planning, logistics and operations.

“A lot of it translates into what I do now, especially leadership,” he explained. “It helps me to see the bigger picture and be able to motivate my team with our shared purpose.”

On June 24, 2021, he opened his Play It Again Sports and since then, has set new sales records for Play It Again Sports.

Making a Difference in the Community

Another one of Erich’s greatest devotions is to the community. Not only is he an active member of his local Chamber of Commerce, but he’s gotten to know many organizations, teams and leagues. He even sponsors local sports teams, including three youth baseball teams and is on the Board of Directors of Housing Forward, a local nonprofit to combat homelessness.

He’s also given back by hosting equipment drives to support nonprofits like the West Suburban Special Recreation Association that offers activities for people with disabilities, Beyond Hunger - a local food pantry, and the Maywood Park District.As he continues living out his entrepreneurial dream, Erich looks forward to continuing to grow his business and get to know his community even further.

“It’s been great to meet a variety of people that I wouldn’t normally have crossed paths with,” he explained.

Are you looking for a franchise opportunity that sets you up for success, promotes sustainability and provides you with plenty of opportunities to give back to your community? Contact us today to learn more about opening a Winmark resale store in your area!