Peter Capolino of Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Company, Robert Greenberg of Skechers and Klaus Obermeyer of Sport Obermeyer are the 2020 inductees in NSGA’S Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame.
The three will join more than 170 retailers, team dealers, manufacturers and industry influencers who have been honored with induction into the Hall of Fame since it was established by the National Sporting Goods Association in 1955. The selections of Capolino, Greenberg and Obermeyer were made by the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee at its annual meeting in May.
“All three inductees for 2020 have left an indelible impression in their segments of the industry,” said Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Ken Meehan, executive advisor to the CEO of Dunham’s Sports. “It is exciting to welcome them to the Hall of Fame and we look forward to seeing them honored at next May’s induction ceremony.”
The Hall of Fame dinner and induction will be held May 19, 2020, at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ, the site of the 56th Annual NSGA Management Conference & 22nd Annual Team Dealer Summit. Details on attending this event will be announced soon.
More about each inductee:
Peter Capolino was the owner of Mitchell & Ness Sporting Goods in Philadelphia when he visited an area manufacturer and saw some piles of old wool flannel lying around. Historic baseball caps were one of Capolino’s specialties and the old wool sparked an idea that baseball fans might have similar interest in vintage jerseys.
Capolino’s idea with “throwback” jerseys turned out even better than he could have envisioned as he quickly made it the sole business focus of Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Company. People of all ages buy them for football, basketball and hockey as well as baseball.
After Capolino came up with the “throwback” baseball jersey idea, he did extensive research to ensure even the most minute details were accurate. A Sports Illustrated story in 1987 about Capolino’s concept led to international consumer demand that helped the concept take off.
Mitchell & Ness eventually began producing “throwback” jerseys for all the major sports leagues – Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA and NHL. Capolino’s idea has flourished into a beloved brand worn by diverse groups spanning multiple generations.
Skechers founder and CEO Robert Greenberg has been an innovator in the footwear industry for nearly 40 years. With a combination of savvy marketing and advertising campaigns, innovative product launches and strategic global growth, Greenberg has built Skechers from a family-owned business to a $4.64 billion global brand.
Greenberg’s leadership drove Skechers to become America’s No. 1 kids’, work and walking brand and one of the world’s leading footwear companies, with an offering encompassing more than 3,000 lifestyle and performance styles for men, women and kids. His wide-reaching creative vision has guided Skechers into new areas, including charity collections, interactive children’s footwear, apparel and even entertainment — with an original cast of beloved Skechers characters who have starred on TV and in movies.
From 1979 to 1992, Robert Greenberg founded and served as the chairman of the board and president of L.A. Gear, a lifestyle athletic footwear and apparel company. After taking the company public and reaching revenues of nearly $1 billion, Greenberg left L.A. Gear and launched Skechers in 1992. He has served as Skechers’ Chairman of the Board and CEO since its inception.
Under Greenberg’s guidance, Skechers went public in 1999 and has grown to include distributors in more than 170 countries and more than 3,100 company-owned and -licensed retail stores worldwide. Skechers has been proclaimed Company of the Year numerous times by esteemed industry publications Footwear News and Footwear Plus. And Robert Greenberg was recognized with the prestigious Footwear News Lifetime Achievement award in 2015 for his influence and impact on the footwear industry.
Obermeyer is always thinking ahead to ensure Sport Obermeyer, the company he founded in 1947, doesn’t fall behind in the ski and snowsports industry. He is still a daily presence at the company’s Aspen, Colorado office with his 100th birthday about to be celebrated on December 2, 2019.
The German-born Obermeyer created his first set of skis from flexible crate board and string at age 3. He studied to become an aeronautical engineer before coming to the United States at age 27. After one winter, he moved to Aspen to become a ski school instructor and believed proper clothing would enable more people to keep warm and stay on the slopes.
Obermeyer made a parka from the down blanket his mother sent with him to the U.S. He joked that it resulted in him having feathers in his cereal for weeks.
What Obermeyer was also the genesis for a company that changed the world of ski gear. Zip turtlenecks, nylon wind-shirts, mirrored sunglasses, double-lensed goggles, two-pronged ski brakes, ski boots and the first high alpine sunscreen were all created to enhance Obermeyer’s philosophy that “skiing is a celebration of life and its celebrants must be comfortable to enjoy it.” Sport Obermeyer released the light and versatile “Klaus Jacket” a year ago.
Sport Obermeyer is conscious of the environment and researches the chemicals that can be used so the company’s garments are water repellent and are not a health hazard.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 induction class. The deadline for nominations is February 21, 2020. Download a nomination form at www.nsga.org/halloffame or request a nomination packet at HOF@nsga.org.
Photos courtesy NSGA