Fernando Buscemi - CoFounder of In2Sports

Date: JAN 23rd, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Fernando’s studies at York University included Geography, Urban Planning, and Accounting. Like most students Fernando worked part-time to offset the cost of higher education. Working in retail was a natural choice as it did more than just pay the cost of tuition: It fed his passion for sales, people interaction, and sports. The time spent working at Champ Sports and Grafton was not only a great learning experience, but also became the driving force of his ambition, which was to own and operate his own retail store.

As an avid soccer fan and player, Fernando combined his passions for retail and soccer. He knew the enormity of the game and the exponential growth it would have year over year. Fernando’s philosophy in business is the same as with life: Enjoy what you do and be the best you can be. Treat every individual with patience, understanding and most of all respect, whether it is the customer, staff member, family member or friend. Life like soccer is truly a beautiful game.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the In2Sports concept.

Fernando Buscemi: In2Sports is the best in class retail experience specializing in everything soccer. We appeal to the young who are flocking to the game, which is now Canada’s most-played organized sport, and it is growing annually. Our adult customers are growing at a similar rate, both men and women alike.....fans, players, and coaches. Our stores are staffed with knowledgeable sales associates, and we pride ourselves in our top quality customer service. It is the total customer experience from staff members, dynamic store design and superior merchandise selection. We are THE SOCCER SUPERSTORE. We are so proud of our supplier relationships and their total commitment to our success.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with In2Sports?

FB: I co-founded In2Sports with my brother Stanley who has similar passions and values as I do We knew the growth potential of soccer retail in Canada and were aware that the retail community had a large void in the market. With dedication, hard work, and a total commitment, we could fill this void. In 1998 we opened our first In2Sports.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining In2Sports?

FB: A solid education, a continuing desire to learn, and a diverse retail experience along with a desire to succeed.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being an In2Sports franchisee?

FB: The advantages include...

  • Hands-on Franchisors who listen to our Franchisee’s needs
  • Having a dedicated knowledgeable infrastructure with a sole purpose of Franchisee success
  • Our Franchisees derive direct benefit from our supplier discounts
  • Provide a proven track record and franchise system
  • Top quality training and ongoing franchisee support
  • Being part of a winning team

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

FB: My ideal franchisee...

  • Possesses a drive to succeed
  • Is hard working and possesses perseverance
  • Possesses a passion for people and business,
  • Is open-minded and has a willingness to learn.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Soccer Retail Market?

FB: The soccer retail market has soared over recent years. The customers have become more knowledgeable, with a strong understanding of the equipment, design, and continuing improvements in technology. Major brands are now spending heavily on extensive marketing, all vying for market share. Product styles are seasonal and ever- changing. The soccer retail industry is no different than the fashion industry; soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and by far the highest participated sport in Canada. The future of the market is extremely exciting as more and more people from all walks of life are driven by the game. The growth potential is enormous.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

FB: Many lessons have been learned and as a Franchisor, we have great responsibility to others. The learning is ongoing and some of the greatest lessons are...

  • Always be totally transparent so potential franchisees are fully aware of what to expect.
  • Be patient and know that affordability is only one of the qualifiers for a franchisee.
  • Be understanding that a new franchisee is tender and will require much assistance.
  • Do not rush the process especially in the areas of site selection.
  • Each franchisee may have different needs especially in the early days.

BTB: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

FB: My Parents...

  • they taught me the meaning of hard work
  • they lead by example
  • taught me to respect people
  • taught me to value what’s important in life: Family
  • taught me to take pride in what you do
  • they always supported my decisions, and gave support when needed
  • taught me to always think positively and positive things will happen

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

FB: My advice...

  • Be prepared to work hard.
  • Do your homework
  • Have passion for your business
  • Know that in any new business you have to walk before you can run.
  • Listen to advise and follow the model; after all, that is the main reason to become part of a franchise system.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that In2Sports would be a great opportunity for someone?

FB: There are 3 key reasons...

  • Our business model is unique and a proven success; we have little competition in an exploding market.
  • We consider ourselves a large family and carry that atmosphere into all our endeavors.
  • We limit our locations to specific demographics which allows our franchisees to maximize the full market potential.