2013Dec 18

@LU_SPAD Student Profile – Dawson Reale: Young Entrepreneur


Dawson Reale – The Ultimate Collector

First year SPAD student Dawson Reale is the owner of The Ultimate Collector here in Sudbury. From a young age, Dawson has had a passion for both business and sports. The Sudbury native has been selling sports memorabilia online since 2008. What started as a hobby, has quickly grown into something much bigger. In 2011, he expanded his business into a physical storefront out of his father’s sports shop, Pro-Am Sports Excellence on Barry Downe Road in Sudbury. Authentic, Original and Affordable is his slogan and that is just what The Ultimate Collector offers.

Dawson attended Lockerby Composite School before coming to Laurentian University to study in the Sports Administration Program. SPAD encompasses everything that Dawson is passionate about; sports and business. In high school, he decided to step away from the sidelines, and pursue the business side of the industry.

It’s clear his family has had a huge influence on him. Dawson’s father Dominic Reale is also an avid sports fan, and he is very thankful as he has been instrumental in getting Dawson’s business to where it is today. Both businesses compliment each-other very well; Customers come into Pro-Am Sports Excellence looking for jerseys or other sport related items, and often end up leaving with unique sports memorabilia from Dawson’s part of the shop!

Dawson with Darryl Sittler

Dawson with Darryl Sittler

A lot of time and effort go into making The Ultimate Collector a successful business. Dawson often heads down to Toronto to attend trade shows to get his hands on unique and authentic memorabilia. Much planning goes into selecting items that Dawson feels will sell in his store, and makes sure to offer a wide variety of selection for all kinds of sports fans. Furthermore, Dawson understands the value of his customers, and makes sure that all of the items he sells are certified as authentic.

Running his own business, Dawson has been privileged to take part in many unique opportunities. The Ultimate Collector has worked alongside a number of different organizations and charities. Last year, Dawson and his business aided the Field of Dreams Fundraiser put on by the local Baseball Academy. He views these sorts of opportunities as a chance to give back to the community, while raising awareness for his store at the same time.

All those involved in the business and/or sports industry understand the importance of networking in order to become successful in the field. Through his business, Dawson has had the opportunity to meet some very interesting people, and bolster his professional network at a young age. Notably, Dawson has met the likes of Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, and R.A. Dickey. Moreover, earlier this year, Dawson held an event at his store which saw Toronto Maple Leafs legend Darryl Sittler make an appearance. This was The Ultimate Collector’s first public autograph signing. Leafs fans in Sudbury were definitely grateful for that!

We had a chance to catch up with Dawson to ask him a few questions about his business, and what he hopes to accomplish here in SPAD:

What has been the most rewarding aspect of owning and operating your own business? Likewise, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced to date?

Dawson: Without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of owning my own business at such a young age is all of the opportunities I have been given and have created for myself. Specifically the contacts I have made and the people I have met. From superstar athletes such as Jose Bautista to Hall of Famers such as Darryl Sittler. Furthermore, my customers. There is nothing more rewarding than providing a customer with a rare and unique sports memorabilia item. I take great pride in all who I have met and I work hard to keep in contact with as well as to build new ones. I am very thankful for everyone who has supported me and will continue to support me in the future. From my parents and family, to close friends, to business contacts and even a few standout customers, thank you!

The only real challenge I would say that I have to face is balancing everything together. There is only so much time in a day, week and month. To be on top of my game when it comes to school (SPAD) and The Ultimate Collector is not always easy. Thrown in what I like to do most which is spend time with family, close friends and watch sports, there are some pretty hectic times. However, when you are involved in and do what you love, it is not much of a challenge at all. SPAD and The Ultimate Collector are both a perfect mix of business and sports. I have learned and can honestly recommend to people, do what you love, because it makes it all much easier and worth it.

Dawson with Brett Lawrie

Dawson with Brett Lawrie

When did you feel you really took your business to the next level?

Dawson: When I was given the opportunity to meet and have a private signing with Jose Bautista in June of 2012, the current Major League Baseball home run leader, I thought I reached the epiphany. However, going to Toronto for two trade shows, including the Fan Expo, and two additional signings since then, I am honored when I get the chance to say I go out-of-town due to business/ on a business trip. Also, being able to host a public signing with Darryl Sittler for Pro Am’s new location Grand Opening and 25th Anniversary was something I am very glad to have taken part in. To bring up a Hall of Famer to our store, especially since it was just this past October, during the early weeks of SPAD, was very rewarding.

What do you hope to get out of your studies in SPAD and where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Dawson: My ultimate goal from studying Sports Administration at Laurentian is to simply further educate myself in the world of sports and business. Beyond that, I wish continue to do what I am so grateful for and that is network, meet new people and make more contacts. In 10 years from now I hope be able to do what I have started with The Ultimate Collector. That is to work in the amazing industry of sports and business while serving or working with amazing people.

We here at the SPAD Blog would like to thank Dawson for his time, and wish him all the best with his business. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Collector Facebook page or Website for more information on what Dawson has to offer. If you are in Sudbury, be sure to visit the store at 918 Barry Downe Road (inside Pro Am Sports Excellence)!

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