History of Sportsmen’s
In 1974, after 50 years, George Ganem sold Sportsmen’s Paradise to Jay’s parents, David & Nancy Cherosnick. Athletes themselves, David played a year of professional ball in the Pittsburgh Pirate organization and Nancy was a physical education teacher at what was then, Litchfield Junior High School. “It’s kind of a dream we always wanted.”
The store was then located in Torrington and carried everything from basketballs to guns. That is where Jay’s dad, David, dubbed the shoe room, the ‘Foot Locker’, but that’s whole different story!
In the coming years they sold the business, got it back again, and then went on to open locations in Winsted and Litchfield as ‘Sportsmen’s of Litchfield’.
What many people don’t realize, is that Sportsmen’s is a wholesale team dealer. We outfit public and private schools, colleges and universities, corporations, soccer and lacrosse clubs, and little leagues with everything from uniforms to full gymnasium and field installations.
In order to focus more on the wholesale aspect of the business, retail was paired down to one location, Litchfield. While at the Litchfield location, the retail store was a great compliment to the thriving wholesale business, carrying everything one might need to play just about any sport.
When we purchased the building and moved the business to Bantam in 2011, we knew retail needed a face-lift. We paired down our team sport offering, realizing we couldn’t compete with the selections offered on-line and in the big box stores, and grew the outdoor lifestyle vision we had for the shop.
In the summer of 2022 we made the difficult decision to move away from retail so that we may focus our efforts on the teams sales division of the business.
Twenty years ago, we didn’t exactly see ourselves taking over the family business, calling Litchfield home, and raising three daughters. We both graduated from UMASS, Jay in ’01 with a degree in Sport Management and myself in ’02 with a degree in Apparel Marketing, oddly enough degrees very fitting for what we do now, but that was completely un-intentional! After graduation, we spent a great deal of time out west; skiing, hiking, camping and just driving…we loved it. We would have been happy to call any one of those towns we happened upon home.
When the opportunity came for Jay to become involved in the family business, we decided that there was a great deal of possibility that came with that…the business has evolved a great deal in forty-seven years, and we will continue to evolve.