“If you can dream it, you can do it” - that’s Mike Durden’s motto. Mike, a Play It Again Sports franchisee in Dedham, MA, started working at the store as a sales associate back in 2001 when he was just in high school.
Throughout the years, he worked his way up to become a keyholder, assistant manager, and manager then, in 2018, became a Winmark franchisee to purchase the very store where it all started.
Discovering His Passion
Sports always played a major role in Mike’s life. As a long-time hockey player and golfer, he was immediately drawn into Play It Again Sports’ diverse product selection and wanted to help others in the community follow their athletic dreams.
He had worked there for seven years when the former store owner allowed him to take over inventory management. The more he bought products for the store, the more he loved it. As a college student at the time, he decided to major in business with the hopes of having his own location one day.
“A lot of people said, ‘Oh, that’s never going to happen,’” Mike explained. “At times, I believed it, but it was what I loved to do. I was determined, and ten years later, I made it happen.”
Transitioning into Entrepreneurship
When the owner who had originally hired him was getting ready to sell his store, Mike jumped at the opportunity.
Though he already knew the ins and outs of the resale business and the Play It Again Sports brand itself, he still went through the comprehensive training process for all new franchisees.
“Even if you’ve been in the system for a long time, you can always use a different perspective,” Mike explained.
Since taking over the store four years ago, Mike has worked closely with the Winmark corporate team to bring his vision to life.
“Any time I need anything, I get a quick response - whether it’s a question about operations, marketing or franchising in general,” he described.
As a dad to a sixteen-month-old girl with a baby boy on the way, Mike is keeping busy, but down the road, he hopes to add more Play It Again Sports stores to his portfolio and serve as a mentor to other sports fans-turned-entrepreneurs.
“One of the best pieces of advice I could give to franchisees is to look at their stores and ask themselves, ‘Is this somewhere I’d want to shop?’”, he said.
Making a Difference in His Community
For Mike, one of the most rewarding parts of owning his Play It Again Sports has been the opportunity to give back to his community. He works with several local organizations, including donating much-needed equipment to sports programs for low-income communities. He also sponsors several local teams, from hockey to baseball and lacrosse.
Over the years, his store has hosted fun, family-friendly events such as their annual summer-tent sale at the end of July, hosting a fair in their parking lot with a bounce house, popcorn and cotton candy and even having players from the Boston Bruins come to sign autographs.
Mike also takes pride in providing job opportunities for his team members - mainly high schoolers and college kids. Since many of them are athletes, he motivates them by comparing their work to their time on the field.
“It’s really important to incentivize them, and athletes are naturally competitive,” Mike explained. “They love to win and when they give it their best, everyone will come out a winner.”
Looking to combine your passions of sport and entrepreneurship all while supporting your local community? Contact us today to learn more about opening a Winmark store in your area.