POMPTON LAKES, N.J. – There probably isn’t a more aptly named sporting goods store than Home Field Advantage in Pompton Lakes.
Owner Steve Colombo, who grew up in the Passiac County borough, has many fond childhood memories of going to buy baseball bats, gloves and other sports equipment from a shop run by the Abramowitz family.
“They were there forever,” Colombo says, adding that it left a big gap in the community when the store eventually closed.
Fast forward to about 14 years ago: Colombo was, he says, “a corporate guy” but the stress of running a major baking company was starting to get to him.
One evening, while sitting at the dinner table with his family, his wife suggested that they open a sporting goods store.
He looked around the area, which is comprised of a number of small communities, and realized that there was a niche to be filled.
“We knew instantly that it could work out,” he said, noting that the store is marking its 13th anniversary this month.
Colombo’s three children, Jessica, Rychelle and Mickey, all have been bitten by the sports bug.
Jessica, who still helps out at the store occasionally, was a cheerleader and played basketball in high school.
She now works for a national cheerleading organization and also teaches and judges competitions.
Mickey, who played baseball and football in high school, is now studying chemical engineering in college.
Rychelle’s two children, ages 9 and 12, are both deeply into sports, Colombo says.
Meanwhile, he and his wife, Jodi, are both kept hopping keeping local teams and players properly outfitted with uniforms, jackets and equipment.
Among the many high schools they serve are: Pompton Lakes, Pequannock Township, Lakeland Regional High School in Wanaque, Clifton, Indian Hills High School in Oakland, Ramapo High School in Wyckoff, Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley.
They also create T-shirts and uniforms for community organizations such as the West Milford Special Olympics.
They also do custom-screen printing and embroidery for businesses.
Spirit gear is a big thing at Home Field Advantage, Colombo says.
“We have seven or eight different schools and towns represented,” so folks wanting to show hometown support can just come in and buy sweatshirts, T-shirts and headbands “off the rack.”
Colombo says it gives him a “good feeling” when he sees parents wearing his products while rooting for their kids from the stands.
They also sell licensed apparel for the area’s professional teams as well, and awards and trophies.
Being from the community makes it doubly important that the service is personal, he says.
Colombo gives coaches sample sizes, or offers in-store fittings, so the players look their best.
The store is stocked with the top brands in bats, gloves, helmets, cleats and other necessities for football, soccer, wrestling, hockey, lacrosse, basketball and cheerleading.
Customers are always invited to give any piece equipment a try, to make sure it’s a good fit.
If Colombo doesn’t have something, he can always order it.
It’s a lot of work, but, he says, “it’s well worth it. I smile every day.”
Home Field Advantage is located at 219 Wanaque Ave., Pompton Lakes, N.J. It can be reached at (973) 835-7714.
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