This is the first in a series of “Doing Business in the Village” blog posts that profile the small businesses that help make Greenwich Village such a special place.
Jay Goldberg is a baseball fan. No question about that. His business Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, at 67 East 11th Street, just west of Broadway, is more than just a retail store, though. With its unusual array of specialized merchandise, and an ongoing series of public events, the clubhouse is a special home for fellow baseball fans, and the perfect place to find the perfect gift for that baseball fan in your life, even if that is you.
Bergino Baseball Clubhouse offers a calendar of events such as book talks, panel discussions, and lectures by the likes of Dwight Gooden, Ed Kranepool, Steve Garvey, Ozzie Smith, and recent Hall of Fame inductee Frank Thomas, to name just a few. The clubhouse has a real sense of community to it, and Jay told me how gratified he feels when he sees the diverse audience come together to share their baseball passion.
Jay attended NYU in the late 1970’s and since then has never left Greenwich Village. He loves it too much and doesn’t want to be anywhere else. He has lived in the East Village, the West Village, and on MacDougal Street. In 2001 he started a wholesale business designing and manufacturing gift baseballs, and some of his clients included Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus.
He told me that when he decided to open the store in 2010, he set out to look for a commercial space by walking every block from Houston Street to 14th Street, river to river. He saw a few spaces in different neighborhoods. Most were small and too expensive for his budget. But when he found his current space, located in the 1868 Cast Iron Building, he liked the fact that it looked more like a gallery than a narrow retail space, and gave him the idea to make it more of a “clubhouse” than just a retail store. So once or twice a month, Jay re-arranges the store, sets up the folding chairs, and turns his store into an event space, and he has developed a loyal following.
Some of the more popular items in the store are the vintage-look T-shirts and caps, the mini-glove, turf coaster sets, and original framed art. My friend and colleague Amanda, also a big baseball fan, has already chosen what she wants.
Jay also works with NYU students who intern at the clubhouse as part of their studies in Sports Marketing. One time a customer wandered into the clubhouse, looked around for a while, and said, “I bet there’s not another store like this anywhere.” Jay said it was good to hear that.
So next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop in to the clubhouse and say hi.