Shrewsbury sportswear firm lands major New Balance contract
A Shropshire business has clinched a deal with major sports equipment company New Balance to become its teamwear supplier for the UK.
The exclusive licence, which covers various sectors, has been awarded to Jamie Stewart, the director of Shrewsbury-based EZ Teamsports which trades as New Balance Team Sports UK.
Initially focusing on football, cricket and track & field, the licence allows the Shrewsbury Business Park-based company to supply New Balance Teamwear products to grassroots teams, professional and semi-professional clubs, education, governing bodies and commercial and corporate sectors.
Mr Stewart said: "I instigated a meeting with Richard Wright, the global head of football for New Balance, towards the end of 2015 and he asked me to put a business proposal together.
“It led to various meetings and presentations with senior New Balance staff, who in turn introduced me to the global teamwear manufacturers PNH, based in Hong Kong.
"This relationship has developed with the UK business forming part of the overall PNH group. It has given us a competitive edge over other premium sports brands with direct links into factories for quick turnaround of technical teamwear products.”
He added: "We believe we tick all the key boxes in forming a unique teamwear business in what is renowned as a very challenging industry.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage with plenty more still to do, but I’m excited by the future and I’m delighted to be working with New Balance."
New Balance are official kit suppliers for Liverpool and Celtic football clubs, and the new suppliers to the England cricket team.
Mr Stewart, who has worked in the sportswear industry for 20 years, enjoyed a long amateur football career in Shropshire and has strong family links with professional sport.
His step father is ex-Shrewsbury Town and Manchester City goalkeeper Ken Mulhearn, whose grandson is Southampton's former Town goalkeeper Harry Lewis, who is sponsored by New Balance.
"We have agreements in place with specialists in their sectors, including Pro Direct Sport, and are also set to embark on some very exciting national initiatives with partners in the education and grassroots sectors,” Mr Stewart added.
He plans to make the New Balance Teamwear showroom in Shrewsbury available for local businesses, with stock sold at outlet prices.
He added: “This will be on teamwear products only at this stage, not footwear, and will be by appointment only, which can be made by calling or getting in touch via email.
“As long as customers are based in Shropshire, outlet pricing will apply. We will also announce footwear sales at various times of the year, when we will open our showroom to the public.”