The Lucky Dog Volleyball Story

It started with a $500 investment in 1987. A women's volleyball team in Winston-Salem, NC could not find uniforms. A phone call was placed to a company in the Los Angeles area called Sideout. With an initial purchase of $500 the company, Winston Court Sports, was born.

That first year, we set up our store outdoors at adult grass tournaments in and around Winston-Salem, NC. In these early years we bought our clothing from Sideout, Club Sportswear, Sets, Redsand, and Straight Down. The clothing was very beach-oriented. We were a part time business; only working a few indoor tournaments during the winter and spring, and some grass ones in the summer. Our owner, Maria Byars, had a full-time job at USAirways. During this time the number of junior girls playing in North Carolina and across the country began to increase rapidly. This is when our focus began to change.

Goodbye Adults, Hello Juniors

We adjusted and began selling at junior girl's tournaments. We started traveling to Carolina Region juniors’ tournaments all over the state of North Carolina.  We moved away from the beach look and started printing our own designs on t-shirts, sweatshirts, pants and shorts. In March of 1987 Maria quit her job and begin to work full time on Winston Court Sports. The business expanded by adding a fundraising division. WCS sent out boxes of clothing to college coaches for them to sell at their summer camps. We spent a week at the University of Virginia running their camp store. The number of colleges and clubs we worked with steadily grew.

Why Lucky Dog?

In 2003 we tripled our warehouse space by moving to a new location. In 2006 we changed our name from Winston Court Sports to Lucky Dog Volleyball. Maria had found a small, female beagle. She named her Lucky. Maria has always felt lucky and she loved her "Lucky" dog. The new company name was just the right fit. The Lucky Dog Volleyball website debuted in 2006. A new employee was hired.

Lucky Dog was shipping orders to all 50 states and internationally. We began to take our mobile store outside NC traveling across the country to large, multi-team tournaments. In 2010 we moved to a larger 4000 sqft warehouse with more office space.  By 2019, we had outgrown that place (affectionately called the Dog Pound) so we upgraded to an 11,000 sqft warehouse, called the Executive Dog Pound (called the EDP).  

Four Divisions of the Company

There are now four divisions of Lucky Dog Volleyball - website sales (relaunching in 2020), tournament merchandising, consignment sales (our Earn Extra Cash program), and volleyball events. We ship orders all over the US and Canada, we travel to tournaments across the United States and we work with hundreds of colleges, clubs, and individuals through our consignment division. We design and print our shirts and sweatshirts and custom manufacture sweatpants and hoodies. We custom dye many of our tees. The Lucky Dog Volleyball Brand is a known brand in the volleyball world.

Website Sales

In 2005 our website boasted one of the largest volleyball e-commerce platforms in the country.  Since then we have focused on other aspects of the business, such as face to face sales at volleyball tournaments.  In 2020 we have plans to launch a new e-commerce website to allow our customers to shop many of our products.  This comes after several requests for our merchandise from customers who want to buy our products for special occasions.  Products will be available online in the Summer of 2020.  

Tournament Merchandising

We travel the country partnering with event hosts to provide quality event merchandise to players and fans.  We have traveled to as many as 24 events in one year, but recently adjusted our tournament schedule only about 10-14 yearly.  We are the official championship event merchandisers for USA Volleyball, the Southern Region Volleyball Association, and the Aloha Region Volleyball Association.  Our largest events include Girls Jr National Championships (GJNC), the Sunshine Classic, Winter Volleyball Championship (WVC), and Boys Jr National Championships (BJNC).  We recently awarded over $10,000 in travel assistance to help fund clubs traveling to Honolulu, HI to participate in the Aloha Summer Classic and the Spring Break Madness events held there. 

We study the market and design products that are trending and highly desired.  We use several metrics in our data analysis to accurately forecast for every event.  Our goal is to manufacture championship event merchandise that becomes one of the customer's favorite piece in their closet.  

Consignment Partnerships (Earn Extra Cash)

We partner with Volleyball Clubs and Colleges across the US to raise money.  Each year we send our merchandise to organizations and guide them through the process of setting up their own stores with our products.  We handle all the paperwork and even take back every item that does not sell.  This eliminates the risk for our partners and allows them to earn extra cash for their volleyball players.  

Volleyball Events

We host several volleyball events each year, including two volleyball showcases and two volleyball tournaments.  Our goal is to provide quality competition and relevant information to participants.  We work with college recruiters to stay abreast of their needs so that our events remain relevant to them as well.  We are planning to add a showcase targeting young student-athletes (middle school age) to acclimate them to the recruiting process and prepare their families for navigating the NCAA rules and requirements.    

Coming to a Court Near You

We travel over 100,000 miles during the tournament season, we ship packages to a variety of countries and have hundreds of schools and clubs selling our merchandise at their events. This is quite a change from a company that began with a $500 order. We have more space, we have more people working here, and more products to sell. What has not changed is our values and our beliefs. We will always be a company who sincerely enjoys and wants relationships with the people who shop with us. We value those who sell our merchandise on consignment as a fundraiser and continuously strive to make the program better. We appreciate the coaches who work with players and some of us continue to coach. We have been referees ourselves and know they are an integral part of the volleyball world. We've created and run tournaments. We understand and value the many parts of the volleyball world. We look forward to many additional years of volleyball.

Timeline

Year

Event

1987

Winston Court Sports is born.

1996

Owner, Maria Byars, leaves USAirways to work at Winston Court Sports full time.

2003

WCS moves and warehouse space triples.

2006

We have a new name - Lucky Dog Volleyball
We launch our website - LuckyDogVolleyball.com

2010

We move to 1055 East Lindsay Street, Greensboro, NC, a 4000 sqft facility known as the Dog Pound.  

2012

We redesign our paw and wordmark. We travel over 100,000 miles during the winter and spring.

2014

We hire Kris Britton as the first CEO of Lucky Dog Volleyball.  

2017

We are named the official Championship Event Merchandisers for USA Volleyball.  

2019

Maria retires to Alabama (most of the time).  

2019

We move to a 11,000 sqft warehouse facility with more office space, a cafeteria, laundry room, and locker room with shower (known as the Executive Dog Pound)!  

 

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