Forum Athletic Products
Forum Athletic Products is a Canadian owned and operated sports equipment manufacturer that has earned a prominent place in this market due to outstanding service and relentless innovation, supplying sports equipment to clients and Canada’s leading sports equipment distributors.
Forum Athletic continues to design and manufacture the safest, high quality athletic products with utmost attention to design, detail, quality and cost. Since the company changed its business model – while still being a small production – over the past eight years it has increased its number of employees from four to Fifteen. This team is made up of ambitious, entrepreneurial and creative employees who strive to set new standards in the production of quality sports equipment. The company quality and workmanship are outperformed only by its commitment to high customer service level.
As a mere student in 2001, the current General Manager of Forum Athletic Products Paul Strazzabosco started working for a small basketball backstop manufacturer. He quickly realized that the concepts and the business model the company operated on were outdated and needed to refocus in the changing market. Strazzabosco saw new opportunities in going beyond mere manufacturing, involving the company in the business on various levels such as sales and installation. He purchased the premises and machinery of the previous manufacturer and launched his own company — Forum Athletic Products.
Strazzabosco told The Canadian Business Journal, “I saw that expanding our services beyond production, starting to sell our equipment as well as install the product for our partners [schools and general contractors] in Ontario, would give us the opportunity to expand and continue to grow our business. For example, we used to manufacture basketball backstops and gymnastic equipment that was only sold through dealers. Today we take the projects from design, to sales and all the way to installation of the product. Besides sales and installation, we focused on product base expansion. We produce divider curtains, volleyball and badminton equipment, outdoor goal posts; we distribute and install fixed and telescopic seating, scoreboards, wall padding and more, while we continue to broaden the range of products. At the same time we discontinued less popular products such as gymnastic equipment as gymnastics are not a part of school curriculum anymore. These fundamental changes had turned our business around and we are now a thriving and growing business.”
Drawing on its past, under the new business approach the company has established itself as the leader and largest manufacturer of basketball backstops in the Canadian market, and the sales of this specific item continue to increase annually. However, the line of sports equipment and custom products offered by Forum Athletic caters to a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports and gymnasium activities, including state-of-the-art backstops, goal and net posts and bleacher systems. To best address the needs of its clients, Forum Athletic welcomes every opportunity to design and manufacture unique, custom-made products and equipment based on the existing products line.
While the company’s client base is mostly situated in Ontario, including general contractors, school boards and recreation facilities, its distribution network stretches across all of Canada, and always welcomes new opportunities to challenge its production abilities and extend its services in the sports equipment segment.
Forum Athletic recently provided 38 ceiling mounted basketball backstops for the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton, which was built through a partnership between the University of Alberta and the city’s sports organizations. “Most of our large-item installations are custom made and fitted, as each facility and each project provides different installation challenges. We were happy to supply this centre, which also proved to be quite a unique challenge for our design team due to the unusual ceiling height and support structure of the building. Another recent interesting project came from Ryerson University which recently retrofitted the former Maple Leaf Gardens, where we installed the basketball backstops and divider curtains for the facility’s gymnasium.”
While the company professionals constantly gain new industry knowledge through offering clients a complete service from manufacturing, distribution to installation, what gives the company a unique edge in the market is the fact that it offers a wide variety of equipment, making the company experts on a wide array of sports equipment installations. “Besides our extensive knowledge, our one stop shop service makes it easier for the client to get all the equipment needed and receive a professional installation service all in one place, rather than seeking specific equipment suppliers and installation companies separately.
This assures better bottom line for the client and faster execution. This package deal works towards everyone’s advantage.”
Operations Manager David Celebre added, “Forum Athletic has a unique family feel amongst all employees. This contributes to a happier work environment and creates a team of truly dedicated employees. Our employee turnover is very low, and we believe this is another competitive advantage of Forum Athletic.”
Celebre has been with the company since its inception in 2004.
As far as the production goes, the company adheres to the highest quality standards to give its clients well-designed, aesthetically pleasing and safe products.
To assure the product safety, all company welders hold certification from the Canadian Welding Bureau. Besides safety, the production follows strict equipment guidelines and requirements put forward by the sporting associations.
The company currently sells products in Canada, but has increased its sales by 600 per cent since 2004. To continue and grow, the company supports its employees, their ideas and energy, creating new manufacturing processes and designs, and creating a strong company receptive to the changing needs of the market. Thanks to its entrepreneurial working environment, the company continues to develop new products and has several patents pending as well as improving existing sporting equipment. With the fresh business approach and experience, the company has begun looking for international business opportunities in the sporting equipment market.