Author: Evan Murphy, BSU student
Growing up in Rockland, walking home from school through the center of town always had me passing the same buildings for years. Every once in a while, some of the places would go out of business or change hands, but many have been there for as long as I can remember. One of those businesses is Rockland Athletic Supplies (RAS). It has always been a fitting name, as it is deeply connected to the community. Doing various sports throughout my time in middle school and high school, both of which were right down the street from the RAS store, meant that I was constantly coming into contact with their products. After having such great experiences with them in the past, I was very happy to be able to get a chance to talk with the owner, Johnny Medlin.
Rockland Athletics was established more than 30 years ago, and focuses on printing, designing, and producing personal apparel. It is a family owned and operated business, and it was originally founded by Medlin’s father. Medlin was born and raised in the South Shore, having been born in Marshfield and is currently living in Pembroke with his family. Because of this background, Medlin has made it a point to focus on that family aspect. Medlin said that he prefers to be very involved with the company, because he wants it to be like a family. Making sure both employees and customers alike are happy and treated well is one of the major day to day goals that is emphasized.
The community has always been a big part of Rockland Athletic’s way of operating. They take pride in doing everything they can to maintain a positive relationship with the town of Rockland and the South Shore as whole, and are continuing to do everything possible to continue to grow the positive relationship. They treat every order and customer with the same amount of respect and care as possible, whether it's a simple personal order or a private order from another business. Attending and sponsoring events is something Medlin makes a point of doing. They strive to give their customers amazing service, making them so satisfied that they tell others about the great experience they had. Because of this, word of mouth is their best and preferred form of advertising. They take pride in their ability to meet the needs of their customers in a timely manner.
One of the biggest challenges Rockland Athletics has faced in recent times is that of COVID-19. Obviously, everyone is affected fairly heavily by it, but because RAS is so heavily focused on personal and welcoming in store interactions, they have felt it hard. They also had to close temporarily during the outset of the outbreak, further impacting them. While they are open now, their ability to welcome in customers is somewhat limited due to social distancing measures, and there are still many people who only go out to outdoor places or only shop for necessities. The pandemic has provided one opportunity, however, as they were able to print custom masks.
In the future, Medlin is looking forward to things returning to normal so he can get back to giving as many customers as possible the best possible treatment. Although the name Rockland Athletic Supplies might imply a focus on sporting goods, and indeed it is a big part of their history, it is only a portion of the business. The business has been branching out to focus on various clients from restaurants, small businesses, and corporate accounts throughout the South Shore. They continue to strive to serve more aspects of their customers’ needs.