Whether you’re a Yankees or Red Sox fan, chances are you won’t strike out at Grand Slam Sports when looking for your favorite player’s jersey or autograph.
“We have a little of everything for the sports fan,” says owner Chip Geriak. “If we don’t have it, we can get it.”
The store on East Main Street is owned by Geriak and his son Ken. They opened it May 2009 after running a successful sports memorabilia business on eBay for several years.
“At first my son and I would just go to spring training to get autographs for ourselves,” says Chip. “But then we ran out of room in our house and had to start selling items.”
The store, which also has a big online selection, sells all sorts of team apparel and souvenirs, along with high-end framed memorabilia. Chip says customers won’t balk at his prices – saying they are half the price of anywhere else.
In preparation for this past weekend’s showdown between the Patriots and the Jets, Chip says he sold a lot of team merchandise. But it’s not only New York and New England fans stopping in. Grand Slam Sports also sells a lot of Steelers and Cowboys merchandise.
When Meriden Patch stopped in for a visit, some items for sale included a Patriots helmet with 30 signatures including Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Bill Belichick ($1200), a Miami Dolphins helmet signed by Dan Marino ($425), and a Super Bowl XLIII helmet signed by Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger ($399).
Chip says customers can be confident that every autograph on the shelves is authentic.
“We go and get everything signed ourselves. We’ve been to training camps, celebrity tournaments, and hall of fame ceremonies to get autographs.”
This year, for the first time, Chip and his son will be heading out west to Arizona for MLB spring training to get some autographs. In the past they usually made the trip south to Florida.
Some of the more memorable autographs Chip has sold include baseball legends Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams.
Chip is a huge sports fan. His favorite teams are the Yankees, Giants, and Rangers. His favorite current athletes are Derek Jeter and Eli Manning. Meriden Patch asked Chip what athlete autograph he would like to have for his personal collection.
“I would love to have something signed by Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig.”
Speaking of Babe Ruth, Chip says several local people already have autographs of “The Bambino” because he was from Durham, CT.
If you do buy a signed item at Grand Slam Sports, rest assured it’s the real deal because every autograph has its authenticity certified. If you already have a signed item that you want to make sure is legit, Grand Slam Sports can also help you out. In March (exact date TBD) a representative from James Spence Authentication will be at the store.
Also in March, an athlete (TBD) will be at the store signing autographs. Former MLB players Dwight Gooden and Joe Pepitone are just some of the athletes who have stopped by Grand Slam Sports in the past.
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