Spring cleaning took on a new meaning at the Russell Training Center on Saturday.
The Rams invited their most important customers, season ticket holders, to come take part in the team’s first garage sale.
When all was said and done, despite the rainy conditions, more than 1,000 Rams season ticket holders stopped by and purchased a variety of items from team issued sweatsuits to hats to banners from the team’s two Super Bowl and NFC Championship game appearances.
“The idea came about as we looked around at our inventory of various Rams’ items and thought about creative ways to get the merchandise and memorabilia in the hands of some of our greatest fans,” Vice President of Corporate Communications and Civic Affairs Molly Higgins said. “The resulting garage sale concept allowed us to check off some of our organizational priorities including being fan-friendly, accessible and community-oriented.”
As a result of the garage sale, the team raised more than $20,000 which will be funneled back into the community via the team’s monthly staff day of service initiative in which the entire building shuts down for the day and everyone participates in giving back to that month’s selected charitable cause.
The original idea for the sale came in part from the minds of head coach Steve Spagnuolo and assistant equipment manager Jim Lake.
At the end of the season, Lake went to Spagnuolo and told him of the surplus of team-issued gear that was just sitting around unused. So that duo, along with Higgins, chief operating officer Kevin Demoff and other members of the staff put in place a plan to have the team’s first garage sale.
“Over the years you accumulate a lot of items,” Spagnuolo said. “And I think there was an opportunity there with the sale for people to come in and get something they normally wouldn’t be able to get. I think it’s a great way to show our appreciation for our fans and also for our fans to come out and be engaged in our facility.”
Lake set about grabbing the surplus team gear – which included winter parkas, cleats, shoes, pads, t shirts, sweatsuits, jackets and hats – and providing it for the sale.
Because most of that gear is designed to be worn by football players, many of the sizes were larger than the average fan could wear. But many people still jumped at the opportunity to get some of it as a collector’s item because it had their favorite player’s number on it.
“There was definitely a wow factor with many of the items ranging from stocking hats that were numbered for and worn on the sidelines by the 2010 team to cleats and sweats that were worn by some of the fans’ favorite players,” Higgins said.
That wow factor wasn’t limited to the team gear, either. Fans were greeted by general manager Billy Devaney, who chatted up anyone wanting to talk football or say hello.
“Billy wanted to be there to greet our season ticket holders, which I think added a terrific element to the day,” Higgins said.
To prepare for the sale, every department in the building was instructed to clean out its storage space and donate anything that might hold some value.
The result of that cleaning left some autographed Rams Insider magazines and even a number of team banners that actually hung in the Georgia Dome when the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV.
In addition to the many fans who made off with exclusive items, the Rams struck a partnership with Goodwill. Fans were encouraged to bring items to donate and at the end of the sale, the Rams donated many of the leftovers to Goodwill.
The Rams also set aside some items, such as the winter parkas to donate to Warner’s Winter Warmup and to the St. Patrick’s Center to be distributed to the city’s homeless.
Now that the spring cleaning is complete, the Rams are considering making the garage sale an annual event.
“I think year one was definitely a success and something that we could build upon in subsequent years,” Higgins said. “Our hope is to continue to use this as a unique fan engagement opportunity to benefit the community.”