By Jennifer Kotila
DASSEL, MN Neuberger’s Hockey Shop, specializing in new and used hockey equipment and apparel, is off to a good start after opening Oct. 23 in Dassel.
“People are already bringing in consignment stuff,” said owner Rustin Neuberger of Dassel.
The shop is located on Second Street in Dassel, across from the fire hall, and offers all the equipment needed to keep hockey players safe.
Whatever is not found in the shop can be special ordered by Neuberger, he said.
He also accepts used equipment, and will sell equipment on consignment.
Of course, no hockey shop would be complete without offered skate sharpening, which Neuberger will do for $2 per pair on Tuesdays, $3 per pair other days, and $4 per pair for goalie skates.
Hockey has been a part of Neuberger’s life since he first started playing as a squirt (fourth and fifth grade) in Somerset, WI.
Playing through high school and college, he has continued to play on leagues, and is currently a member of the BENO league for Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato.
Following college, Neuberger opened a hockey shop in Breckenridge, CO., which is a ski town in the mountains more than an hour from Denver, and his nearest competition was hockey shops in Denver.
Neuberger ran a successful shop for a number of years before “closing up shop to come back to Minnesota and marry Kristi Smith,” he said.
Kristi is a 1996 graduate of Dassel-Coakto High School and is a regional sales coordinator at American Time and Signal in Dassel.
Living in the Twin Cities area first, Neuberger worked as a mortgage banker at Wells Fargo.
He and Kristi moved to Dassel after starting their family more than a year ago, and they now have two daughters; Payton, 2, and Avery, 3 months.
Neuberger continued to work at Wells Fargo in Litchfield after relocating to Dassel. However, that career path just wasn’t for him, he said.
He thought about going into Real Estate, but Kristi suggested he re-open his hockey shop, and he decided to take the leap.
“The success of the store depends on how supportive the community is,” Neuberger noted.
Having a local hockey shop will save people gas and time for travel to another store, he added.
“I wanted to give the hockey community a better alternative than driving 45 minutes to a hockey shop,” Neuberger said.
Right now, the closest specialty hockey stores are in the Twin Cities or St. Cloud.
The shop is also a good alternative to shopping online, he noted.
“The advantage is knowing it will fit, and having my expertise to help find the right fit,” Neuberger said.
One of his current consignment items is a brand new chest protector, ordered online, that turned out to be too small for the customer.
It would cost the customer nearly the same amount of money to return the item as it did to purchase it with shipping and handling and restocking fees, Neuberger noted.
His biggest competitor is www.hockeymonkey.com, but he can match the prices of the online store’s top-of-the-line equipment, and is typically only $5 to $10 more than its cheaper equipment, Neuberger noted.
Neuberger is hoping to attract customers not only from the Dassel and Cokato areas, but also Litchfield, Hutchinson, and Annandale, he said.
Neuberger’s Hockey Shop is open Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 7 p.m., and Saturdays noon to 5 p.m.
The store’s website is www.neubergershockeyshop.com, and the phone number is (320) 295-9296.