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  • Writer's pictureWhat's your story

"A passion for retail" Story told by Joseph Yoo

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Bethlehem, PA

Owner of Amateur Athlete

Joe tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in Allentown, and Bethlehem area. I went to Notre Dame Elementary School and then Freedom High School. When I got out of of high school I started working at Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) center which was in Allentown. I progressed through the ranks and eventually I became the control operator at the power plant located in Martins creek. I was also drawn to the beach and loved being in the ocean. I would enjoy surfing, boogie boarding, volleyball and skateboarding. Being at the beach I would always check out the surf, and skateboard shops which was the lifestyle I enjoyed. I always wanted to open up a sporting good store but I was leaning towards outdoor activities such as skateboarding , skiing, and snowboarding.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

After working at Pennsylvania Power Light (PPL) I always had the goal of opening up a shop and at the time it was geared towards your traditional sports such as basketball, running etc. PPL knew I wanted to be on my own and be in more control. So eventually I got more involved in sports. When I was younger I would always go to Bethlehem sporting goods and Nazareth sporting goods to buy my attire, and athletic equipment which inspired me to get into the retail industry.

"I wanted to be on my own and be in more control.."

What challenges did you face in becoming an entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was money. Being able to come up with the money, finding an investor, and finding a spot was challenging. However I was able to overcome this challenge by saving my money while working at PPL and living at home. My parents also helped with money, along with the bank providing funds, and I established credit with my suppliers which is important in order to run the business. In addition I had to keep a good cash flow to help sustain my business as well.

How can you make an impact in the community as you continue to grow as an entrepreneur? And why is this important to you?

What’s important to me is growth. During the run of 38 years you will always have ups and downs and you must maintain an even keel not too high and not too low. Coming into 2008 recession we had 3 stores but then dropped 2 stores. However despite this change we continued to support the community and they supported us. We would have skating events in the parking lot and invite professional skaters to come out and join the local community skaters. By doing this we were able to keep our name in peoples minds, and also show a generous attitude towards young people in the community. You must always remember that you have to work hard to make yourself successful..

"You must always remember that you have to work hard to make yourself successful..."

Joe and his son Colin

Joseph Yoo featured in The Express Times for BEST OF THE COACHES Year award Girls Volleyball team.

Be sure to visit Amateur Athlete located in Bethlehem, PA at Westgate Mall

2231 Schoenersville Rd, Bethlehem PA

Instagram: @amateurathlete

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