Lefty’s Sports Outfitter has been operating in the city of Colton since 1907 (which was then Helman’s), before being sold to current owner Andy Rodriguez in 2015. Rodriguez shared that initially his business was booming with incoming traffic, as Lefty’s Sports Outfitter was selling its athletic activewear to entire sporting teams in the region, high schools, and even the city of Colton.
“I only get one or two customers per week. The uniforms are down because there are no sports taking place in the community or at the high school level. Sales have been down about 80 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared Rodriguez.
He went on to provide data in terms of women’s softball intensity pants and the numbers are terrifyingly low.
“Generally, our women’s softball intensity pants are flying off the shelves, selling about 200-300 each season. Thus far, we have only sold one pair in the past six months,” continued Rodriguez. Another area of uncertainty Rodriguez faces is the ability to pay rent on his leased business space, due to almost zero revenue coming in.
“Almost all companies don’t know how we’re going to get through this rough patch. I don’t see any assistance coming from the state, county or city right now, but like myself, so many mom and pop shops don’t know what we’re going to do, I can’t pay rent or my utilities. Luckily my landlord has provided me with some relief, otherwise I would have had to close down months ago,” Rodriguez shared.
Aside from the major setback that COVID-19 has brought to the business, Rodriguez is hoping this 2020-2021 school year brings in a moderate amount of letterman jacket sales. “Aside from all of the sportswear, we’re popular for our letterman jackets. All of our jackets are custom made…the customer comes in and deposits $150 to get a jacket started,” said Rodriguez.
“They get fitted before ordering the jacket, and when the jacket comes in they get fitted again to reassure size, they pick the color and knit patterns. When they come in for second fitting they design the font, the colors and bring in their patches…then the jacket gets sent to embroideries,” continued Rodriguez.
The letterman jacket design and fitting appointment takes about an hour and Rodriguez says he can accommodate all customers by scheduling an appointment outside of regular business hours.
“Right now we are only open between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and by appointment. I’m just not getting any customers. I’m really here for the people and I love the city of Colton. We are all in this together,” concluded Rodriguez.
Lefty’s Sports Outfitter is located at 347 N. La Cadena Dr. For more information, call (909)-825-9033.